Who was the most prototypical Flyers player in recent memory?
In other words, who is the picture-perfect Flyer of the last 30 years or so?
Well, to me it really comes down to 1 of 2 players, a forward and a defenseman. As a forward, there’s no question it would be Eric Lindros. At 6’4” 240lbs, Lindros was an incredible physical specimen. Big, tough, strong he could score goals, make plays, and lay the “smackdown” on his opponents.
To me, Lindros was easily the answer at the forward position and is the very definition of “Power Forward”.
On defense the answer is just as clear to me: it’s Chris Pronger.
The Flyers made his acquisition on June 26th, 2009, when they pulled the trigger on a blockbuster trade with the Anaheim Ducks acquiring the prototypical Flyers player.
Here is the breakdown of that trade.
- Chris Pronger
- Ryan Dingle
- Joffrey Lupul
- Luca Sbisa
- 2009 1st Round Pick (#21 – John Moore)
- 2010 1st Round Pick (#29 – Emerson Etem)
- 2010 3rd Round Pick
While Chris Pronger only played 145 games in 3 seasons with the Philadelphia Flyers, his presence was incredible. At 6’6” 220lbs of pure nasty, he immediately stepped in as the Flyers #1 defenseman and made that Philly defense one of the very best in the NHL at that time.
In those 145 games, Pronger scored 92 points, was a plus (+) 30, and had 133 penalty minutes. In addition to his regular shift, he played both the powerplay and the penalty kill. He was just a brick wall back there. His toughness and nastiness put the fear of God into his opponents.
Opposing forwards coming towards the Flyers net were made to be so uncomfortable and were constantly trying to spot where Pronger was on the ice, for fear of getting flattened. Pronger was such an imposing player, he disrupted opponents’ thoughts, made them uncomfortable, and as a consequence, the play more often than not ended in the Flyers favor.
Pronger didn’t have too many fights in his career, mostly because not too many players were dumb enough to challenge him. He made everyone around him play bigger and better.
Unfortunately, although he played 18 seasons in the NHL, Pronger’s career was cut short due to injury. He sustained multiple concussions. A freak on-ice accident pretty much ended Pronger’s career in 2011 when Mikhail Grabovski’s stick hit Pronger in his right eye, causing some loss of vision, migraines, and post-concussion syndrome.
There’s no doubt the Flyers got the upper hand on that trade. You can be sure that without Chris Pronger the Flyers don’t get to the Stanley Cup finals in 2010. They most likely go further into the playoffs in 2012.
With about 5 years left on his contract when Pronger’s playing days came to an end, who knows how far the Flyers could have gone. Pronger made his presence felt. Just how tough was Pronger? Well in his career, Pronger had 8 suspensions, more than 1500 penalty minutes, won a Norris trophy, has his name on the Stanley Cup.
In 2015, Chris Pronger was inducted in the Hockey Hall of Fame. Although he was only in Philadelphia a short time, he is unquestionably my prototypical Flyers defenseman in recent memory.
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