PHILADELPHIA - MAY 07: Marc Savard #91 of the Boston Bruins hits Chris Pronger #20 of the Philadelphia Flyers in Game Four of the Eastern Conference Semifinals during the 2010 NHL Stanley Cup Finals at the Wachovia Center on May 7, 2010 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
As this offseason has worn on, with all the mayhem that's surrounded the Philadelphia Flyers, there's still one glaring weakness overall in the organization. It's not up front or in goal, but on defense, where the two most valuable pieces are aging and expensive.
Kimmo Timonen seems like he's been playing hurt for literally years, and Chris Pronger's absence in the 2011 playoffs was arguably the largest concern for the team. Now, as we look ahead to training camp in September, it appears as though Pronger won't be at 100 percent come camp time.
"I'm still probably three, three and a half weeks away from being able to train hard. I'm still walking on the treadmill, light bike riding. The back doctor wanted 12 weeks for me not doing a whole lot to allow that back area to scar up and then fully heal up before I start torquing and pushing on it hard," said Pronger, who needed to remove a herniated disc that caused him back and leg problems.
"I would say I'm quite a bit behind where I would be training-wise and working out-wise. Whether I'm at camp or not, I don't know that yet, it's still early to tell. I would guess I would not be starting camp just from the mere fact that I haven't been able to work out at all yet. I'm skinny to begin with, and now I'm looking really skinny."
Pronger has a 35-plus contract that we don't need to be reminded of, which means that if he were to be forced to retire before his contract ends in 2017, the Flyers would still have to pay him nearly $5 million per season against the salary cap.
That's not to say Pronger is anywhere near retirement, but if he's late to camp again this year because of injury (remember, he was last year as well), it's at least something that has to find its way onto our radar. Most of all, without Pronger, the Flyers are a seriously weakened team, and quite frankly, they need him to be successful. This sucks.