After 10 seasons, Chris Pronger is no longer a member of the St. Louis Blues. He was traded to the Edmonton Oilers on Tuesday for fellow defensemen Eric Brewer, Doug Lynch and Jeff Woywitka.
The move was purely financial, as the Blues tried to find ways to cut payroll and adhere to the NHL’s new salary cap. The Blues had made a $7.22 million qualifying offer to Pronger, but felt they wouldn’t be able to match any other offers he might get as a restricted free agent.
Pronger was the NHL’s MVP and the winner of the Norris Trophy (given to the league’s best defenseman) in 1999-200, when he scored 14 goals and had 48 assists and had a plus/minus ratio of 52. The Blues had the best regular season record in hockey that season, but were bounced in the first round of the playoffs by the Sharks. He was a four-time all-star.
After playing the first two seasons of his career in Hartford, Pronger was sent to St. Louis in a deal that was unpopular with many Blues fans—Pronger was a part of the trade ended Brendan Shanahan’s career in St. Louis.
Brewer is a known commodity, having earned a trip to the All-Star Game in 2003 and was member of Canada’s gold medal team in the 2002 Olympics. He led Edmonton with 24 minutes, 38 seconds per game in 2003-04.
Woywitka, 21, and Lynch, 22, have spent most of their careers in the minors.
Pavol Demitra wasn’t going to be a St. Louis Blue even if there had been a hockey season in 2004-2005. The team decided not to re-sign him before the lockout. Yesterday the three-time All-Star signed with the Kings.