There was a lot of debate about this yesterday -- is Chris Pronger's contract extension considered an "over-35" contract or not? If it is, his $5 million cap hit will stay on the books for the next seven years, regardless of whether or not he retires. If it is not an over-35 deal, his cap hit will come off the books if he retires before the contract ends.
Bill Daly, the deputy commissioner of the league, was contacted by Elliotte Friedman, a reporter for Hockey Night in Canada and FAN 590 in Toronto. Daly told Friedman that the deal is in fact an over-35 contract because of the date it goes into effect. It does not matter that the deal was signed before Pronger is 35 years old (he's 34 until October 10 of this year), because it does not go into place until the 2010-11 season.
The league's collective bargaining agreement uses June 30 as the cut off date, and Pronger will be 35 on June 30, 2010.
All indications from Pronger point to him not playing until the end of his contract, considering he will be 42 at its conclusion and he said at his press conference on Monday that he has no intention of playing "as long as Chris Chelios." If he doesn't play out the remainder of his contract, his cap hit could seriously handcuff the Flyers in later seasons.