Date of Birth:  October 10, 1974
 Place of Birth: Drydon, ON
 Residence: N/A
 Years on National Team:
 Height:  6'6''
 Weight: 218 lbs

When Chris Pronger was named both the top defenseman in both the OHL and CHL after an awesome 1992-93 season with the Peterborough Petes, it was obvious he had the goods to succeed at the next level. At the 1993 draft, he was taken second overall by Hartford (now Carolina), behind only Alexander Daigle (Ottawa).

The bruising defenseman made an immediate impact in the NHL, accumulating 30 points (5-25-30) and 113 penalty minutes to earn a spot on the league's All-Rookie Team in 1993-94. He continued to improve as a player, but was nonetheless traded to St. Louis for Brendan Shanahan in 1995. Although he probably did not appreciate it at the time, the trade, --which resulted in him playing under taskmaster coach Mike Keenan -- was the turning point of his young career. Keenan demanded a lot from Pronger and, thankfully, the young blueliner responded positively in his new environment and before long became one of the game's dominant forces.

Pronger has been selected to play in five All-Star games, been named Second-Team All-Star twice and a First-Team All-Star once. The latter occurred during his magical 1999-00 season, when Pronger had 14 goals, 48 assists and was a plus-52. Those gaudy numbers won him both the Norris Trophy, as the league's top defenseman, and the Hart Trophy, as the league's most valuable player. Making the feat even more impressive, it was the first time a blueliner had won the Hart since Bobby Orr won the last of his three consecutive awards back in 1972.

Apart from his injury-shortened 2002-03 season, Pronger has been considered one of the top defenders in the game for the last 10 years. That status earned him a spot on Canada's silver-medal-winning Olympic team in Nagano in 1998 and on the gold-medal-winning team in Salt Lake City in 2002.

In 2005, Pronger was dealt to Edmonton for Eric Brewer, Jeff Woywitka and Doug Lyman. He has quickly become a fan favourite and is one of the prime examples that small-market teams can now compete for elite players in the new NHL.

Related Headlines:
February 14: Pronger fit to go
February 12: Pronger, Blake should play
February 12: Canuck blue line black and blue
February 11: MRI reveals cracked bone in Pronger's foot
February 11: Injury scare for Pronger
February 11: Firestorm awaits

2006 Hockey Coverage