That's the case being made over at The Battle of Alberta blog, where Matt Fenwick makes a pretty strong argument for the Ducks defenceman.
Among other things, Fenwick points to the fact that:
- Pronger is fourth in the Western Conference in scoring
- He's tied for second in the league at +16
- He has just 14 PIMs
- His team has 40 points in 25 games and is in first place in the conference
Here's Fenwick: "He's the Hart Trophy front-runner, and I fully expect that this sentiment will be near-unanimous by Christmas. So, Oil fans? Good luck with that tonight..."
Another blogger, Earl Sleek, compares Pronger's early numbers to those of teammate Scott Niedermayer - both of whom are at the top of the Norris Trophy race to this point - and the former Oiler wins by a landslide:
Even-Strength: Pronger: 435 minutes, 2 goals, 11 assists, 13 points, EV +29, EV -14 Niedermayer: 404 minutes, 3 goals, 8 assists, 11 points, EV +19, EV -14
Power-play: Pronger: 156 minutes, 2 goals, 11 assists, 13 points, PP +22, PP -0 Niedermayer: 154 minutes, 2 goals, 8 assists, 10 points, PP +20, PP -0
Penalty-kill: Pronger: 96 minutes, 0 points, PK +1, PK -8 Niedermayer: 85 minutes, 0 points, PK +0, PK -12
"So overall, Pronger (in about 44 extra minutes of ice time) has been on the ice for 52 goals for and 22 goals against," Sleek writes. "Scotty, meanwhile, has been on the ice for 39 goals for and 26 goals against.
"I would buy the argument that Pronger being paired with Sean O'Donnell should have better defensive implications than Niedermayer being paired with Francois Beauchemin, but in terms of production, you gotta give the nod to CP here."