Flyers' Chris Pronger hired by NHL

The NHL has hired Chris Pronger to its Player Safety Department, the league announced Friday.

The hiring won't come without criticism due to the fact he remains under his old player contract for two more years with the Flyers.

Pronger hasn't officially retired even though it's clear he'll never play again because the Flyers would be penalized on their salary cap if he did. Plus, like any injured player, it's his right to continue to collect his salary.

But now he will be involved in the decision-making to suspend NHL players.

The NHL and NHL Players' Association held numerous discussions over the past few days regarding the potential Pronger hire given that he's still under player contract.

The league, a source said, understands how people will perceive the optics of the hire but care more about the fact it wants a respected hockey mind joining the player safety group, a department that has lost Rob Blake, Brian Leetch and its former head, Brendan Shanahan, over the past year and a half.

Pronger during his playing career was among the more outspoken NHL players and was respected for his intelligent opinions on a number of matters. He's seen by some in hockey circles as a future general manager.