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.
“(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.
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.