When Chris Pronger was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2015, it marked the end of an outstanding career. Stanley Cup winner, Hart trophy winner, Norris trophy winner, All-Star. Everything was accomplished, and yet something remained—a contract. Pronger was then, and still is now under a player contract with an NHL team, and though he’ll never play a game for the Arizona Coyotes—who traded for his empty contract just days before the Hall of Fame induction ceremony—he was technically a part of their organization. His deal will expire at the end of this season, and there is now something else on his mind for the future.
Pierre LeBrun of TSN writes in his latest column that though Pronger is happy with his current position at the Department of Player Safety, he’d like a chance to apprentice under an established GM in hopes of one day running a team of his own. Pronger reached out to former rival Steve Yzerman to learn what he could about the Tampa Bay Lightning GM’s path to the front office, which included time under Ken Holland in Detroit. Though he had all the physical tools to make him great in the game, it was his hockey mind that made him a legend. As former teammate Jamie McLennan put it in LeBrun’s piece: “His ability to adapt and learn in any situation is what makes [him] special.” Don’t be surprised to see Pronger’s name pop up in a front office as soon as next season.
- It wasn’t just a regular flu for Vancouver Canucks forward Nikolay Goldobin. The young player says that he didn’t eat for five days and has lost fifteen pounds while he’s been out. While he is feeling better, he won’t travel to Edmonton with the team when they take on the Oilers tomorrow night. Instead, he’ll hit the practice rink and try to get back to where he was before falling ill. The 21-year old was acquired in exchange for Jannik Hansen at the trade deadline, and scored a single goal in the three games he played for Vancouver before being kept out of the lineup.
- James Mirtle of the Athletic provides some context for the Maple Leafs newest signing Miro Aaltonen. One source told him that the Finnish forward has a 50-50 shot to play in the NHL, but represents no downside for the team. He’ll be on just a one-year deal, and will play for the Marlies next season if he doesn’t crack the NHL team out of camp. Chris Johnston of Sportsnet adds that Aaltonen is most comfortable on the left wing, an area of need for the Maple Leafs. The team currently only has James van Riemsdyk as a true goal-scoring left winger, with the other three, Zach Hyman, Leo Komarov and Matt Martin, all being better suited to play in the bottom-half of a lineup (despite the fact that Hyman has played on Auston Matthews’ wing all season). Even in the minor leagues Kasperi Kapanen and Brendan Leipsic, the prospects closest to making an NHL impact both play the right side most often.