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(6) Chris Pronger v. (11) Mattias Ohlund

Another day, another dominant first round victory, this time for Connecticut Whale defender Wade Redden. Today's match features two more defenders, but only one of them will survive to take on Wade Redden. Unlike Redden, both players are actually pretty good players right now, but the long-term risk involved in the deals given to Chris Pronger and Mattias Ohlund are significant.

Chris Pronger

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Chris Pronger today is still a great player, and there's no doubt about that. He's playing top four ice time at even strength on one of the best defense groups in the NHL. He plays a huge role on both special teams, and is scoring at least 0.5 points per game for the twelfth consecutive season. But he also turned 36 in October, and unlike most of the other long-term deals, retirement is one of the major risks involved in this deal since, although the Flyers wouldn't need to pay out those last two years, that five million dollar cap hit would remain (although Tyler Dellow seems to think that there might be some wiggle room - have we seen any 35+ guys retire under this CBA with time left on their contracts?). Hands up everyone that thinks Pronger will be playing out those two seasons at 41 and 42. No one? Shocking. That the Flyers didn't seem to know that this was a 35+ contract only adds to the fun.

Mattias Ohlund

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Mattias Ohlund's deal isn't any better. Capgeek isn't too sure about the kind of no-trade clause Ohlund has, and that means I'm not sure, but there's apparently something there. So far this season, Ohlund has been a solid performer, taking a lot of Tampa's defensive zone starts and the toughest competition that opponents can throw over the boards. That said, he's gotten beat up doing it, accumulating a Corsi rating of -6.03 per sixty minutes at EV, the worst rating on the team. I suppose that's somewhat to be expected, but if he's already getting beat up a little bit, is he really going to be able to contribute at a high level for five more years? Ohlund is turning 35 next season, and when defensive defensemen hit the wall, things can get ugly. The one potential saving grace is that the Lightning are a budget team, so they can probably feel like they're getting good value if Ohlund can be a top-notch third pairing guy in 2014-15 and 1015-16.

The Bracket

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