The Hockey News player of the week for the period of May 24-30 is Philadelphia Flyers defenseman, Chris Pronger.
Given how the Flyers only played two games in this period – and the Blackhawks only one – it was a difficult choice this week. But Philadelphia’s 6-foot-6, 21-4 pounder has made his presence felt in big games and has logged big minutes as usual.
First off, in Monday’s conference final Game 7 against the Montreal Canadiens, Pronger was held pointless, but was a plus-1 in 27:14 of ice time, which is actually at the low end of what his workload usually is. Pronger was a plus-1 with four penalty minutes as the Flyers knocked off the Habs 4-2, earning a berth in the Stanley Cup final.
In Game 1 of the championship, against the favorite Chicago Blackhawks, Pronger was leaned on for 32:21 and put two assists on the board. His five shots on goal tied for his highest in this post-season and his plus-2 rating brought his post-season rating to plus-4. Against the Blackhawks, Pronger is charged with the task of keeping big Dustin Byfuglien away from the front of the net.
With 10 goals and 55 points in 82 regular season games, Pronger had his best season since 2006-07, the year he won the championship with the Anaheim Ducks.
Through 18 games this post-season, Pronger has four goals and 16 points, the most among defensemen. It’s also his highest point total in the playoffs since he reached 21 in 24 games during Edmonton’s run to the final in 2006.