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Joffrey Lupul

Joffrey Lupul

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MONTREAL - The Flyers tonight acquired Chris Pronger, a veteran Anaheim defenseman they hope will be the missing piece to their 35-year Stanley Cup quest.

Pronger, 34, gives the Flyers a much-needed physical presence in front of the net.

Flyers general manager Paul Holmgren called the 6-foot-6, 220-pound Pronger "a guy who makes life miserable for the other team." The Flyers sent right winger Joffrey Lupul, defenseman Luca Sbisa, tonight's No.

1 draft pick (21st overall) and next year's No.

1 selection to the Ducks for Pronger and AHL forward Ryan Dingle.

The Ducks also received a conditional third-round pick in 2010 or 2011.

It was a steep price for a player who has just one year remaining on his $6.25 million contract, but the Flyers hope it will put them on the same level with their most bitter rivals, the Stanley Cup champion Pittsburgh Penguins.

"He's a proven winner, and, secondly he brings the size," Holmgren said.

"He can pass the puck as well as anybody, and he brings a nice physical presence - both in stature and the way he plays.

I think he's an ideal fit on our team and I think he'll make all of our other defensemen better.

He'll be an excellent role model for all of our young players." Holmgren acknowledged that the package was "a lot to give up.

Ask me a year from now or a couple of years from now if it's worth it," he said.

"It was difficult.

Joffrey Lupul is a fine young man and a good player, and Luca Sbisa is going to be a good player.

And obviously the unknowns are the draft picks, but we're trying to win here, and we think Chris is the guy who can help us get closer to achieving our goal." A five-time all-star who is one of the league's toughest players, Pronger collected 11 goals and 37 assists last season and averaged 26 minutes, 56 seconds of ice time per game.

"He adds everything," said Flyers coach John Stevens, who was Pronger's teammate with the now-extinct Hartford Whalers.

"He's a great player at both ends and he brings great leadership.

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You have to give up a lot to get a great player." Pronger said he wasn't surprised at the deal, mentioning he had heard that the Flyers were showing interest around the trade deadline in early March.

Back then, the Flyers didn't have the necessary cap space to make the deal, but Holmgren told Ducks GM Bob Murray, "If you're talking about the summertime, we would have interest." The seed had been planted.

Pronger, a 15-year veteran, said he was excited to be going to Philadelphia.

"It's obviously a city that's very passionate for the sport of hockey, and the style of play that the Flyers have been known to play fits me just fine," he said.

"They have some great young talent and I hope to help them develop .

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into a team that's one of the top teams in the league and can win the Stanley Cup." Asked whether he thought he could be the player to put the Flyers over the top, Pronger said: "I'd like to think so, but I don't really know a whole lot about the team right now.

I've seen them play a few times in the playoffs.

I like what they have up front, and I think they've got a good core group of defensemen." Getting Pronger should help the Flyers neutralize the Penguins, who, led by Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin, handed Philadelphia a six-game defeat in the opening round of the playoffs last season.

"I think [when you face] Pittsburgh, you need to have two solid groups of defensemen, especially on the road - one that can play against Crosby's line, and the other that can play against the Malkin line," Pronger said.

Holmgren said he has not talked to Pronger's agent about extending his contract.

Those talks will take place in the near future, said Holmgren, who was the Hartford general manager when Pronger signed his first pro contract with the Whalers in 1993.

"So it's kind of come full circle," he said.

Pronger called Dingle, 25, "a little sparkplug" who "opened up a lot of eyes" before being injured late in training camp last year.

He later scored 11 goals with AHL Iowa.

Oddly, it marked the second time Pronger was in a deal that involved Lupul.

"It's starting to get old," Pronger said with a laugh.Notes.

The NHL announced its cap limit for 2009-10 would be $56.8 million, a $100,000 increase from last season.

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The draft will conclude with rounds 2 to 7 today and will be televised by the Hockey Network starting at 10 a.m.Contact staff writer Sam Carchidi at 215-854-5181 or [email protected]



http://www.philly.com/inquirer/breaking/sports_breaking/20090626_Flyers_get_Pronger_for_Lupul__Sbisa.html
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