Wednesday, August 03, 2005
Pronger strikes Oil...Blockbuster deal lands Pronger in Edmonton
The St. Louis Blues have traded the veteran defenceman to Edmonton for defencemen Eric Brewer, Doug Lynch and Jeff Woywitka.
Pronger was the NHL's most valuable player and top defenceman in 2000.
Blues GM Larry Pleau tendered Pronger a contract qualifying offer of $7.22 million US last week and, with the salaries for Pronger, Keith Tkachuk and Doug Weight totalling $19.7 million, many observers felt the Blues couldn't keep all three high-priced players when the new collective bargaining agreement set a $39-million US cap per team.
Pronger, 30, the Blues' captain, has played in four NHL all-star games and is a two-time Olympian. The six-foot-six native of Dryden, Ont., has 400 points including 94 goals in 722 NHL games. When he won the Hart and Norris trophies the same year, he was the first player to do so since Bobby Orr in 1972. He was the No. 2 pick in the 1993 entry draft.
Pleau was delighted to get Brewer, who skated in the all-star game in 2003 and who was a teammate of Pronger on Canada's 2002 Olympic-champion team.
''Eric Brewer has been a premier defenceman in the NHL for the past several seasons and we are very excited about the talents he brings to the Blues,'' Pleau said. ''We are also adding two skilled younger defencemen who are clearly up-and-coming players at this level.
''We're looking forward to having all three of these players in our lineup together one day in the future.'' Brewer, 26, from Vernon, B.C., has played six seasons in the NHL including the last four with Edmonton while amassing 113 points including 34 goals in 404 games. The six-foot-three blue-liner began his NHL career with the New York Islanders after being selected fifth overall in the 1997 draft.
Lynch, 22, from North Vancouver, B.C., made his NHL debut with Edmonton in 2003-2004, appearing in two games. He completed his second season with the Oilers organization in 2004-2005 with the Edmonton Road Runners of the AHL. He was the 43rd player picked in the 2001 draft.
Woywitka, 21, from Vermilion, Alta., played the last two seasons in the AHL including 2004-2005 with the Road Runners. He was drafted 27th overall by Philadelphia in 2001.