Chris Pronger aspires to become a GM, while Jaromir Jagr might play another season -- or more

ByPierre LeBrun ESPN logo
Saturday, March 18, 2017

Chris Pronger's final days on a player's contract are upon us. His last paycheck from the seven-year, $34.55 million deal he signed with thePhiladelphia Flyersin 2009 goes through next month, after which he's free to begin the next chapter in his hockey life.

When exactly the Arizona Coyotes-- who acquired Pronger's contract via trade in 2015 -- will retire his number, we don't know yet.

In all seriousness, though, the Hockey Hall of Famer -- who has not played an NHL game since 2011 -- enjoys working with the NHL's department of player safety, but his true desire at some point would be to run an NHL team.

"I'm very interested one day in becoming a GM," Pronger told "I have a lot to learn and need to put some work in. But down the road at some point, under the right circumstances, it's definitely something I'm interested in pursuing."

The 42-year-old has sought out advice from the likes ofLos Angeles Kingsvice president Rob Blake,Anaheim Ducksgeneral manager Bob Murray andSt. Louis Bluesgeneral manager Doug Armstrong. But perhaps most notably, Pronger also asked Steve Yzerman about his journey to becoming a general manager, which included four years of tutelage under general manager Ken Holland with theDetroit Red Wingsbefore Yzerman got his own gig with theTampa Bay Lightning.

"I think this is an obvious path for Chris," saidPhiladelphia Flyerspresident and former GM Paul Holmgren. "Very smart. Sees the game better than anyone I have known. Seems willing to take his time and work his way up. Building a solid foundation for himself, working with the league. In my opinion, he will be an outstanding GM."

Pronger would also consider, under the right fit, learning under a veteran general manager for a while before he feels he's ready to be one himself.

There's unquestionably a comparison to be made between Pronger and Yzerman, in terms of hockey IQ but also a desire to put in the hours. Some former star players like the idea of running a team but then find out how much true work is involved. That reality hasn't fazed Yzerman, and I get the feeling that Pronger is made of that same fabric.

"He's one of the smartest hockey minds I've ever come across in the game," said former NHL teammate Jamie McLennan, now a TSN game analyst, of Pronger. "His ability to adapt and learn to any situation is what makes them special. When I think of him, I think of Matt Damon's character in 'Good Will Hunting' and the scene where he burns the math equations in front of the professor. It seems that when it came to hockey, things came real easy to [Pronger] as far as understanding."

Other notes:

  • Right wingerJaromir Jagr, I'm told, is "leaning" toward playing another season, although he won't make a final decision until he's finished his season to fully make a call. TheFlorida Panthersare also interested in having him back at the right price. He's been a great influence on their younger players. He's only 45, right? Jagr has joked that he wants to play until he's 50. Or maybe he wasn't joking.
  • Goaltender Mike Condon saved theOttawa Senators' season when he took over the No. 1 job in net while starter Craig Anderson spent important time at home with his wife, Nicholle, who is battling cancer. Condon will be an unrestricted free agent on July 1. He's certainly earned a nice raise over the $575,000 he's earning now and he'd like to stay in Ottawa, where he really likes the fit and the organization. Both sides have talked, but negotiations are still in the early stages. And it's going to have to be a number that fits into Ottawa's payroll plans.