Kukla's Korner

Kukla's Korner Hockey

Do You Rank Chris Pronger An All-Time Top 10 Defenseman?

from Joe Pelletier of Greatest Hockey Legends,

Pronger's physical prowess allowed him to play seemingly half the game. He was a mainstay on both the power play and penalty kill units, and often double shifted at regular strength. Not only was he a game breaking defenseman but he was arguably the top shutdown defenseman of his era. He always played against the top forwards every night. None of his near 28 minutes a night were easy.

The most amazing thing about Chris Pronger, in my estimation, was his ability to control the pace of the game. Late in his career he was criticized for being too slow or too old. It did not really matter, as he could read the ice and the flow of the game as well as anyone in the modern era. He seemingly slowed everything down and then when he lulled everyone to his desired level he'd shoot a bolt of lightning into the game, often in the form of a dagger-like pass for a quick break. Old timers tell me the only player that they saw control the pace of the game so well was the great Doug Harvey.

read on

Filed in: NHL Teams, Anaheim Ducks, Edmonton Oilers, Philadelphia Flyers, St. Louis Blues, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: chris+pronger


w2j2's avatar

Scott Neidermayer should be ranked above Pronger.

Yes, Pronger was able to “control the game”, but that is a quality that all the great Dmen have.  Just watch Lidstrom, Niedermayer, Chara, et al.

Pronger was good, but not top 10, imho.

Posted by w2j2 on 03/07/13 at 07:41 AM ET

BrendonTO's avatar

Something us Wings fan know so well: there’s a very distinct difference between defending with actual defence, and with physicality. I guess a good analogy would be someone like Chris Paul in the NBA, versus tall guys.

Pronger was a good defenceman but relied so heavily on his physical gifts. We can’t underestimate the space he always got when he had to puck because of that. He was an above-average Dman with an elite body, you could say. He was also often a dirty player known for cheap shots, and in the end he learned the hard way that having your body ravaged isn’t so much fun.

Posted by BrendonTO on 03/07/13 at 08:01 AM ET

Dakkster's avatar

Not even close to top ten. Possibly top 20.

Posted by Dakkster from Southern Sweden on 03/07/13 at 09:03 AM ET

MOWingsfan19's avatar


Posted by MOWingsfan19 from I really like our team on 03/07/13 at 09:17 AM ET

henrymalredo's avatar

I don’t know if he’d be in my top ten, but as muc as I didn’t like him when he played for St. Louis and Anaheim, I’ve seen few defensemen who were able to combine his level of physicality and skill.

Posted by henrymalredo from Lansing on 03/07/13 at 09:40 AM ET

Nathan's avatar

His physicality isn’t something he should be punished for when ranking him. You work with the tools you have, and Pronger was fortunate to have better physical power than a guy like Lidstrom (it is really just a testament to Lidstrom’s bizarre innate hockey skill that despite some physical deficiency when compared to a guy like Pronger, he was still clearly a cut above even his best peers during his career).

I think Pronger in the top 15 is very fair. Top 10 is a stretch, as Pelletier’s listing basically shows. But I don’t disagree with Pelletier’s analysis overall… I think you look at 7 - 10 guys as being definite top tier all-timers, then you have a couple groups of players that are right in the 7 - 10, and 11 - 15 spots. And there are fair arguments that put Pronger in either grouping after that top level.

Posted by Nathan from the scoresheet! on 03/07/13 at 10:06 AM ET

pautna's avatar

Top ten douche.

Posted by pautna on 03/07/13 at 10:16 AM ET

redxblack's avatar

Top 10 all time? No way. Stomping on an opponent’s leg is not the kind of thing a top 10 all time player would do, ever.  Top 10 during his career? That’s much more likely, and not anywhere near the top 6.

Posted by redxblack from Akron Ohio on 03/07/13 at 10:22 AM ET

Buck's avatar

MAYBE Top 20.  Certainly not Top Ten; Pronger’s dirty play automatically disqualifies him from that sorta consideration.

Posted by Buck from The High Plains of New Mexico on 03/07/13 at 01:26 PM ET

SYF's avatar

Top 25, but not a top 10.

Posted by SYF from impossible and oddly communally possessive sluts on 03/07/13 at 01:54 PM ET


Wow. I didn’t even have to give this a second thought. No.

Posted by godblender on 03/07/13 at 01:57 PM ET


I’d say he should come in right around ten, but, considering how hated and resented this guy is, it doesn’t surprise me other people wouldn’t see it that way.

Posted by larry on 03/07/13 at 02:04 PM ET

UMFan's avatar

Top 10 in history, no way. That is historic greatness territory, which shouldn’t be bestowed upon somebody just because they played most recently. These lists tend to emphasis this fact, which I tend to think is a lack of knowledge and respect for history. I did dislike the guy, though a good chunk of that dislike comes from the fact that despite his dirty play he was a very, very good d-man. Maybe in the 20-25 range would probably be appropriate.

Posted by UMFan from Denver, Colorado on 03/07/13 at 08:00 PM ET

Add a Comment

Please limit embedded image or media size to 575 pixels wide.

Add your own avatar by joining Kukla's Korner, or logging in and uploading one in your member control panel.

Captchas bug you? Join KK or log in and you won't have to bother.


Notify me of follow-up comments?


Most Recent Blog Posts

About Kukla's Korner Hockey

Paul Kukla founded Kukla’s Korner in 2005 and the site has since become the must-read site on the ‘net for all the latest happenings around the NHL.

From breaking news to in-depth stories around the league, KK Hockey is updated with fresh stories all day long and will bring you the latest news as quickly as possible.

Email Paul anytime at pk@kuklaskorner.com