Chris Pronger hasn’t played for the Flyers in three years because of concussions and he is still on their payroll, owed $5 million. Yet, he is on the verge of snagging a job in the NHL’s player safety division
By Sam Bush
Only in the bizarre world of the National Hockey League, whose salary cap rules make astrophysics look simple, could this be happening.
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Even though he hasn’t played since 2011, Chris Pronger is still officially on the Flyers payroll and is owed $5 million through 2017. But that may not prevent him from getting a job in the NHL offices.
On Wednesday, Yahoo! Sports reported that Pronger interviewed with Stephane Quintal and the NHL’s department of player safety despite the fact that he’s on long-term injured reserve with the Flyers after a concussion ended his playing career.
During a press conference before the championship banner raising in Los Angeles, NHL commissioner Gary Bettman wouldn’t confirm that Pronger was interviewed but did say his status shouldn’t be a deal-breaker.
“Chris’ case is unique,” Bettman told the media. “There are salary cap reasons why he couldn’t officially retire but the fact of the matter is, if in fact we go in that route, I’m not sure that presents any problem at all to deal with. He’s done playing. He gets paid no matter what from the Flyers. He doesn’t owe them anything.”
According to TSN’s Bob McKenzie, the NHLPA is involved in trying to clear up the issue.
“I know Stephane is talking to a number of people,” Bettman told ESPN.com earlier on Wednesday. “I know he has a number of first-rate candidates to include in the department.”
Pronger has not played since the 2011-12 season because of concussion symptoms. But he remains on long-term injured reserve instead of retiring so the Flyers can recoup the cap space, and so Pronger gets paid for the rest of his deal. The defenseman currently carries a salary cap charge of nearly $5 million through the 2016-17 season.