Pronger addresses trade rumors.

The Ducks head into next Friday’s draft, and the July 1 free-agency deadline, with a plethora of defenseman. Since one of them is Chris Pronger, he has been the subject of trade speculation in recent weeks.

Always a rumor magnet, Pronger has downplayed this speculation in the past with adamant blog poststo back up verbal denials. Not on Friday. “I can’t give a definitive answer one way or another,” he said.

“(Ducks management) has had internal meetings among themselves this week. They need to figure out who’s going to be back and address the salary, structure and payroll accordingly. They figure out who’s going to get what, who can fit in the different slots they have.

“Once they figure that out,” Pronger said, “then there will be a clear picture.”

The most important decision for now lies in the hands of Scott Niedermayer, who still has not announced whether or not he will retire. General manager Bob Murray previously gave the defenseman a deadline of before next Friday’s entry draft to decide.

Pronger is owed $6.25 million next season and the Ducks might not be able to keep both him and Niedermayer (who made $6.75 last year) on the payroll if Niedermayer chooses to re-sign.

Pronger said he wants to stay in Southern California — “we love living there and playing there” — which may have lent legitimacy to recent reports thathad Pronger going to the Los Angeles Kings in exchange for defenseman Jack Johnson.Both sides quickly denied that a deal had been struck, thoughit may be worth noting that Murray didn’t tell Pronger afterwards that he wasn’t going to be traded.

“I’m sure it will clear up before the draft on Friday,” Pronger said.

This entry was posted in Anaheim Ducks/NHL by J.P. Hoornstra. Bookmark the permalink.

About J.P. Hoornstra

J.P. Hoornstra covers the Dodgers, Angels and Major League Baseball for the Orange County Register, Los Angeles Daily News, Long Beach Press-Telegram, Torrance Daily Breeze, San Gabriel Valley Tribune, Pasadena Star-News, San Bernardino Sun, Inland Valley Daily Bulletin, Whittier Daily News and Redlands Daily Facts. Before taking the beat in 2012, J.P. covered the NHL for four years. UCLA gave him a degree once upon a time; when he graduated on schedule, he missed getting Arnold Schwarzenegger's autograph on his diploma by five months.

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