Chris Pronger likes what he sees in this new National Hockey League world, and it's not just because he will be playing in a hockey hotbed with the Edmonton Oilers.
The flurry of activity this week not only has involved teams that traditionally make big moves, such as the Philadelphia Flyers, but also those which in the pre-salary cap NHL wouldn't have afforded to do much at all. The Oilers, with the additions of Pronger and Michael Peca, and the Atlanta Thrashers, with the signing of Bobby Holik, are two such teams among others which come to mind.
"So-called smaller markets are able to jump into the fray and sign guys that under the past (collective bargaining agreement) probably wouldn't have had the chance, and it is creating a good buzz around the NHL," Pronger said yesterday at a Brampton golf course, where he appeared for his annual charity tournament. "I think the initial signs of the first week have shown that (league-wide parity can be achieved based on an equal playing field) and it's exciting to see."
Acquired by the Oilers from the St. Louis Blues late Tuesday night, Pronger was slated to fly to Edmonton today.
J.R. TO L.A.
As expected, the Philadelphia Flyers yesterday traded centre Jeremy Roenick to the Los Angeles Kings, along with a third-round pick next year, for future considerations.
Flyers general manager Bob Clarke had no choice but to clear space under the $39-million US cap with the signing of Peter Forsberg a day earlier.
Roenick, 35, waived his no-trade clause to go the Kings. He will earn $4.94 million this season.
Forsberg signed a two-year, $11.5-million US with Philadelphia. The Chicago Blackhawks had offered Forsberg $12 million over two years.
Slick defenceman Oleg Tverdovsky is back in the NHL after spending the past two seasons playing in his native Russia.
Tverdovsky yesterday signed a three-year, $7.5-million deal with the Carolina Hurricanes. The 29-year-old, who has played for Winnipeg, Phoenix and New Jersey, appeared in the 1997 all-star game and had at least 50 points three times.
One of the reasons Mike Modano re-signed in Dallas was because he really liked the idea of being a one-franchise guy, as Steve Yzerman is to Detroit.
"I just tried to picture myself five, six, seven years down the road and I couldn't see myself anywhere but here," Modano said yesterday. "I kind of pictured myself with both (Chicago and Boston, which pursued him heavily). It just didn't seem right. For happiness and for being comfortable, you can't put a price tag on that."
Colorado Avalanche forward Alex Tanguay signed his qualifying offer for $3.23 million. Tanguay, who had 67 points and a plus-34 rating in 2003-04, will be a key piece to Colorado's team -- even more now that the Avalanche has lost Peter Forsberg to free agency. The Avs also re-signed defenceman Kurt Sauer ... The Detroit Red Wings re-signed 43-year-old defenceman Chris Chelios to a one-year contract, bringing him back for his 22nd NHL season. Detroit also re-signed defenceman Mathieu Schneider to a two-year deal and gave a one-year entry-level contract to forward Johan Franzen ... The Washington Capitals acquired right winger Chris Clark from the Calgary Flames for a conditional pick in 2006.