The Philadelphia Daily News notes that Flyers defenceman Chris Pronger had minor knee surgery to remove loose bodies last week, according to GM Paul Holmgren.
“He will be ready for the start of training camp [in September],” Holmgren said.
Coach Peter Laviolette mentioned yesterday how the Flyers’ acquisition of defencemen Andrej Meszaros, Sean O’Donnell and Matt Walker in the offseason should help keep down the ice time of Pronger and Kimmo Timonen.
“I think when you get into playing defencemen 30 minutes a night, consistently every night, it takes a toll on those players,” Laviolette said.
“Healthwise we were pretty fortunate last season with our top four. I think we had 3-4 total man-games [lost] for our top four guys . . .
“These acquisitions give us more of a luxury of possibly resting other players. Like I said, we have real good depth on the back end and this can give us a chance to cut back on some minutes and get more of a roll on the back end.”
Pronger remains one of the better standard league fantasy blueliners around, although he’ll be turning 36 in October and he has a lot of miles on that body. Still, he posted 10-45-55 last year and that marked his best offensive season since his ’06-7 effort of 59 points. And as much as he seemingly never left the ice in the playoffs this past spring, the Flyers actually cut his regular season time down a full minute from what he skated in his final year in Anaheim (25:56 from 26:56).
As an example, then 39-year old (he turned 40 during the playoffs) Nicklas Lidstrom averaged 25:26 last season for the Detroit Red Wings and 24:49 the year before that one. When he was 36, which Pronger will be for ’10-11, Lidstrom played 27:28 per game. The two stud defenders certainly ply their trades with different styles of play, but it still gives some insight into how effective Pronger might be in the coming campaigns.
Timonen turned 35 in March and he tallied 6-33-39 last season. His regular season ice time was actually cut noticeably from 24:31 in ’08-9 to 22:53 this past season with the arrival of Pronger. Pronger and Timonen received the most first unit power play time on average among Flyers’ defencemen with 3:40 and 3:37 respectively. Matt Carle and Braydon Coburn, who were ninth and 10th on the team in PP TOI and the next defencemen on the list, logged 2:31 and 1:48 per contest.
SEGUIN SIGNS Tyler Seguin signed his three-year, entry level deal yesterday and it’ll come with a cap hit of $3.55M. His base salary will be $900K with the rest potentially coming via bonuses.
The Boston Globe reiterates the post-Seguin draft storyline of GM Peter Chiarelli projecting Seguin – a centre – to start at wing; although that could change if the Bruins swing a deal involving Marc Savard. Either way, Chiarelli is eagerly anticipating seeing what Seguin can potentially get done on the ice for the Bruins.
“Nothing has really changed to make me more comfortable or not since when I last saw him,” Chiarelli said. “I’d like to see how he does. He’s a terrific young player. I think he’s going to open eyes in camp. But let’s wait and see.”
The article notes that both Seguin and the Bruins acknowledge that the 18-year-old isn’t guaranteed a spot on the 2010-11 roster. In actuality though, it seems pretty unlikely the youngster would be returned to junior.
Also, according to a league source; the Bruins have received inquiries on Savard and are asking for a roster player in return, but would settle for prospects or draft picks. He only carries a cap hit of just over $4M, but it’s for another seven years. The Ottawa-born pivot turned 33 last month.
QUOTABLE “I wouldn’t say (Erik Gudbranson, the team’s first round pick and third overall at this summer’s draft) can’t make the team, but he has to make the team,” Panthers assistant GM Mike Santos told The Sun-Sentinel after the team signed Mike Weaver to a two-year, $1.8M contract. The Panthers now have eight defencemen — Bryan McCabe, Bryan Allen, Dmitry Kulikov, Jason Garrison, Dennis Wideman, Nathan Paetsch, Weaver and Clay Wilson – signed to one-way contracts. “We’re not going to give anything to him. If he comes in and he’s better than any of those guys in front of him, then he’ll be on the team. But there’s nothing wrong with an 18-year-old continuing to develop in juniors. It’s nice to have this depth, so you don’t put that pressure on an 18-year-old where he has to come in and step in.”
SALO’S SURGERY The Vancouver Sun writes that 36-year old Canuck defenceman Sami Salo, who tore his Achilles tendon training last month in Finland, has had surgery and is now sporting a cast. GM Mike Gillis intends to dispatch trainer Mike Burnstein to Finland in the coming weeks to meet Salo, the Finnish doctors and to further assess the situation.
“Sami’s in a cast right now and once that cast comes off, they’ll do a second post-operative evaluation and Mike will be there for that to see how things turn out,” Gillis explained.
“We won’t have any information until that occurs. Sami is obviously very upset about what’s happened. It’s very disappointing.”
FILATOV ARRIVES EARLY The Columbus Dispatch notes that Blue Jackets left winger Nikita Filatov has never arrived in central Ohio this far ahead of training camp, but he has never had so much to prove either. He now has six weeks to meet new faces, mend old fences and gear up for the start of camp Sept. 17.
“It’s a great step for him to take,” GM Scott Howson said. “We’ve talked about him coming over early in prior seasons and he has, but never this early.”
Filatov rankled many in the dressing room, not only by leaving the club for the KHL last November; but also by making dismissive comments to the Russian media regarding the Blue Jackets.
“(Filatov) has some work to do with players, to rebuild the bridges,” Coach Scott Arniel said. “This shows an initiative by him. It’s a real good sign that he wants to make amends. If he would have shown up the day before training camp, hoping everything was hunky-dory, that would have been a big mistake.”
Filatov will obviously need a top six slot to truly succeed offensively this season. Antoine Vermette and Derick Brassard will be holding down the centre spots. Rick Nash (Mr. Franchise) and Jakub Voracek (22 points in his final 25 GP last year) will take up the right side, assuming Arniel continues the Nash-on-the-right side movement started by Ken Hitchcock. Kristian Huselius isn’t likely to be beaten out of his L1 LW spot (L2 at the worst), which means the versatile R.J. Umberger would probably be the one holding the short end of the stick if Filatov can earn a spot on the second line with his dynamic skill-set.
An article in The Dispatch a week or so ago noted that the team’s third line may be Samuel Pahlsson with Ethan Moreau and either Chris Clark or Derek Dorsett, but how that might be affected with the Filatov/ Umberger fallout remains to be seen.
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