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Pronger: Defense is improved

Team MVP from last year likes roster additions on blue line

Tuesday, 07.20.2010 / 9:54 AM ET / News
By Kevin Kurz  - philadelphiaflyers.com
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Pronger: Defense is improved
(Voorhees, NJ) – At 35 years of age Flyers defenseman Chris Pronger showed no signs of slowing down last season, his first as a Flyer, during the club’s exhilarating run to Stanley Cup Final. That being said, he wouldn’t mind lessening his workload a bit.
Philadelphia Flyers defenseman Chris Pronger answers a question during a news conference at the NHL Stanley Cup Final on Tuesday, June 8, 2010, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Kathy Willens)

“You need to have that depth so that you aren’t skipping a beat and you’re not playing 30 minutes a night on defense. You are playing 22-25 minutes a night,” said Pronger from the Virtua Center Flyers Skate Zone on Monday morning. “It allows you to try and stay a little fresher.”

Last year, Pronger saw his ice time climb from 25:55 in the regular season (fifth in the league) to 29:03 in the playoffs (most in the league). Although he takes great care of himself off of the ice and manages his energy well on the ice, he likes the additions the team has made on the back end. Andrej Mezsaros and Sean O’Donnell will join the team and instantly add more depth and skill to the Top 6, giving Philadelphia what some have argued as the best defense corps in the league along with Kimmo Timonen, Braydon Coburn, Matt Carle and Oskars Bartulis. Matt Walker, acquired via trade with Tampa Bay on Monday, also adds some more size, toughness and depth.

The should allow the Flyers to roll three pairs with more frequency, giving players like Pronger more time to recharge their batteries between shifts. It’s a welcome development.

“You relish the minutes and you relish the opportunity to play at the competitive level that you are playing, but at the same time, you have to look at the big picture,” he said. “Obviously, [Flyers general manager Paul Holmgren] did that by addressing this and acquiring guys at positions that we needed.

“I think with Meszaros and O’Donnell, we are obviously trying to shore up our defense pairings and give us a little more depth back there. This will probably take some minutes off Kimmo and I, and Coby and Matty. So, we will be able to hopefully roll three sets a little more frequently and keep us all a little more sharp and fresh.”

Pronger, who is back the area to train for a few weeks, also isn’t surprised that the roster had to undergo some transition even after the (mostly) successful playoff run.

“Whenever you go to the Final and you have success like this, you have to make some tough decisions. There are always guys that will have to come off your team and there are always holes to fill. This year is no different.

“For the most part, if you look at our team from last year to this upcoming season, the nucleus is still there. We have a great core of players and I think we will be that much more ready to take that next step with the run that we made in the playoffs and the experience that we gained. We saw what it is going to take for us to be successful and win a Stanley Cup. We were close, but not close enough. That is something that we can build on next season, and in the future.”

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EASTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 p - NYR 82 53 22 7 248 187 113
2 y - MTL 82 50 22 10 214 184 110
3 x - TBL 82 50 24 8 259 206 108
4 x - WSH 82 45 26 11 237 199 101
5 x - NYI 82 47 28 7 245 224 101
6 x - DET 82 43 25 14 231 211 100
7 x - OTT 82 43 26 13 232 208 99
8 x - PIT 82 43 27 12 217 204 98
9 BOS 82 41 27 14 209 201 96
10 FLA 82 38 29 15 198 213 91
11 CBJ 82 42 35 5 227 248 89
12 PHI 82 33 31 18 212 223 84
13 NJD 82 32 36 14 176 209 78
14 CAR 82 30 41 11 183 219 71
15 TOR 82 30 44 8 206 257 68
16 BUF 82 23 51 8 153 269 54

STATS

2014-2015 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
J. Voracek 82 22 59 1 81
C. Giroux 81 25 48 -3 73
M. Streit 81 9 43 -8 52
W. Simmonds 75 28 22 -5 50
B. Schenn 82 18 29 -5 47
S. Couturier 82 15 22 4 37
M. Del Zotto 64 10 22 -5 32
M. Read 80 8 22 -4 30
M. Raffl 67 21 7 6 28
V. Lecavalier 57 8 12 -7 20
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
S. Mason 18 18 11 .928 2.25
R. Emery 10 11 7 .894 3.06
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