Pronger to have knee surgery; Trade coming?
After missing the last 4 games with a virus, Flyers captain Chris Pronger will have surgery on his left knee on Tuesday afternoon.
No, that is not a misprint.
Pronger will have surgery tomorrow afternoon to "clean out some loose particles," according to general manager Paul Holmgren.
"This has been an issue for the last month or so," Holmgren said. "We thought that through his rehabilitation on a daily basis that he would start to feel better. He had another MRI on his knee and we felt that it would be better to get it taken care of now."
Pronger, 37, is expected to miss 4 weeks. That would pinpoint a return just before the Winter Classic on Jan. 2 at Citizens Bank Park.
"We were hopeful that the time missed with a virus that Chris has been fighting would settle things down in his knee, but after an examination yesterday, it was decided that surgery is the way to go at this time," Holmgren said.
The surgery will be performed by Dr. Peter DeLuca.
But what does all of this mean for the Flyers roster in the short-term? Andreas Lilja is out for the next 6 weeks with a high ankle sprain. Pronger will miss a month. Both players will be moved to the long-term injured list "today or tomorrow," according to Holmgren, clearing their salaries off the cap for replacements.
For now, the Flyers are sticking with rookies Marc-Andre Bourdon and Kevin Marshall. That does not rule out a trade on the horizon. Pronger's $4.94 million salary cap hit alone provides plenty of room for a trade without the need to remove salary. A rough estimate has the Flyers' salary cap cushion (without Lilja, Pronger and Andreas Nodl - see below) at $4.28M.
"There are a lot of things going on in here today," Holmgren said when asked about the need for replacements via trade.
And what does this injury mean for Pronger in the long haul? Pronger has already missed 10 games this season. He missed 32 games last season. This will be Pronger's sixth surgery since July, 2010 - less than a year and a half's time. He still has 5 years remaining on his 7-year, $34.5 million deal.
Overall, Holmgren isn't worried about Pronger's future.
"I think any time a player has surgery, you're concerned, whether it's an older player like Chris or a younger player," Holmgren said. "But I think he takes good care of himself with proper rehabilitation and conditioning. The only thing you can go by is what the doctor tells you. This is really more a maintenance procedure than anything else.
"The structure of his knee is just fine. He has good cartilege on both sides of his knee. I think he has a lot of miles left in his body."
When Pronger, who still leads the Flyers in minutes per game this season, has been healthy, he has been a force. His 12 points in 13 games had him on pace for his best offensive season in more than a decade.
SCHENN RE-CALLED: Forward Brayden Schenn, who was sent to Adirondack last week after recovering from a fracture in his foot, was conveniently in Philadelphia today for a follow-up visit with his doctor. He will remain with the team now that they have the salary cap room to hold his $1.76 million salary.
Schenn played another 3 games with the Phantoms, collecting 2 goals and 2 assists. He is still searching for his first NHL goal.
NODL WAIVED: Forward Andreas Nodl was put on waivers on Monday, as Holmgren confirmed a report from TSN's Bob McKenzie.
"Andreas hasn't really played much," Holmgren said, "So this will gauge interest in him from around the league. [Tuesday] we will see what we're going to do, whether we send him down or he stays on the roster."
Nodl, 24, has 1 assist in 12 games this season. He has been both a healthy scratch and has sat out with a myriad of 3 or 4 injuries.
For the latest updates, follow Frank Seravalli on Twitter: @DNFlyers