Oilers GM Lowe: Pronger's agent has contacted team
VANCOUVER, British Columbia -- While Kevin Lowe was helping build the future of the Oilers organization at the NHL Draft on Saturday, the general manager was dealing with the "disheartening" reality that one of his stars does indeed want out.
Lowe admitted Saturday that defenseman Chris Pronger has officially requested a trade and that the team has heard from his agent.
"We've been aware of it for a period of time," Lowe told reporters before the start of Saturday's draft. "Just let me say, yes, we have heard from his agent, that [Pronger] prefer to be traded.
"We're not going to be quick to act on this unless we have a real strong opportunity for the organization. It's better we assess all of this and see what's best."
Rumors surfaced earlier in the season that Pronger was unhappy in Edmonton after being acquired by the Oilers in the offseason from St. Louis. A source familiar with the team told ESPN.com some time ago that Pronger's wife was unhappy with the prospects of a long stay in Edmonton. Pronger has four years remaining on his contract at $6.25 million annually.
Lowe refused to specifically comment about Pronger's situation after Friday's GM meetings, but was more forthcoming Saturday, saying he was disappointed by the news "considering the run we had [to the Stanley Cup finals]."
Lowe also said that several teams have contacted him about Pronger, but gave no specifics.
The problem for Lowe is that it would be almost impossible to get full value for Pronger, the team's most important player during their run to the Cup finals and a player many believed should have been named playoff MVP.
At $6.25 million, he's a relative bargain, especially with the salary cap set to go up. And it's hard to imagine any package would offset the gaping hole his absence would leave along the Edmonton blue line.
Pronger has not yet publicly commented on the trade request and is reportedly vacationing in Mexico with this family.
Pronger led all Oilers in playoff scoring with five goals and 16 assists in 24 games and averaged an outstanding 30:57 in ice time. The St. Louis Blues traded Pronger to Edmonton last offseason in a multiplayer trade made possible by the new collective bargaining agreement.
Edmonton's trip to the Stanley Cup finals was the first for Pronger, who won the Hart and Norris trophies after the 1999-2000 season. He was the first to win both awards since Bobby Orr did it in 1972.
ESPN.com NHL writer Scott Burnside contributed to this report.
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