"It's the same," Holmgren said. "Good days and bad days, same as he's had here since he stopped playing."
Even if Pronger is never to lace up his skates again, which remains the odds-on possibility, the Flyers are in no position to say so. That sliver of hope needs to remain to collect the long-term injury-list cushion of Pronger's $4.9 million hit on the salary cap for each of the remaining five seasons of his deal.
Pronger, 37, cannot retire or else the Flyers are stuck with that burden on the cap. Both Pronger and the Flyers need to keep his status close to the vest.
The only bigger question mark remaining in the Flyers' offseason is how they will go about reshaping a once-deep defense corps without Pronger.
In one of the biggest weeks of the offseason, with the entry draft on Friday night in Pittsburgh and free agency opening on July 1, Holmgren will need to find a way to restock the cupboard.
Pronger might never play again. Kimmo Timonen, 37, barely made it to the finish line in the playoffs after taking time off during the regular season to rest. He's entering the final year of his contract anyway. And steady blueliner Matt Carle can be lured away beginning on July 1.
Timonen is coming off back surgery, and Holmgren said he is "doing fantastic." Then again, we've never heard of a surgery going wrong. Time will tell whether the back problem is solved.
The Flyers could lose three of their top defensemen in the blink of an eye. That is not pessimism, but reality. For all intents and purposes, the Flyers should probably plan as if Pronger will fill a front-office hole instead of one on the blue line.
"In a perfect world, [we'd have to reshape our defense]," Holmgren said. "But it's easier said than done.
“Assuming Chris can't play, those are big shoes to fill. It's hard to find Chris Pronger; I don't know if he's out there. We're still in decent shape there. Kimmo's getting older, so we have to look toward the future here to make plans to improve that area. I think getting Nicklas Grossmann signed when we did was a positive step for us. If we can get Matt Carle signed, I think that will help us long term."
The best option would be to re-sign Carle quickly, or maybe even work out an agreement in principle, so he doesn't actually hit the open market. Holmgren said before that he thinks he can nab Carle at a price below market, which would be around $4.5 million per season.
Carle, 27, probably could easily garner $5 million or more from a desperate team.
"I have kept in contact with both Matt and his agent [Denver-based Kurt Overhardt]," Holmgren said. "I am fairly certain we will get him signed."
Without Carle in the mix, the Flyers would need to scramble. Braydon Coburn would be headlining a group that would include two players with injury concerns — Timonen and Andrej Meszaros — in addition to veterans Grossmann and Andreas Lilja and two green defensemen in Marc-Andre Bourdon and Erik Gustafsson.
Even guaranteeing a completely healthy season from all seven of those players (without Carle) — which is nearly impossible — that is not a Stanley Cup-contending blue line.
The free-agent options are expensive. Nashville's Ryan Suter is the big-ticket item, who could command something in the range of $6.5 million to $7 million per season. But Suter has never really been counted on to be the big dog on a pairing, since he's always played with Norris Trophy finalist Shea Weber.
Florida's Jason Garrison is a nice player, but he blew up overnight. Garrison, 27, netted a whopping 16 goals from the point, but was also paired with All-Star Brian Campbell. The Panthers reportedly made a firm offer to Garrison's camp on Tuesday, but he could well be available on July 1.
It would be interesting to see what kind of deals Garrison and Suter garner after taking on all the No. 1 defensemen responsibilities on their own for a season.
Washington's Dennis Wideman (46 points) had an unbelievable contract year, and he will be due a big raise from his $3.94 million cap hit.
After that, the options on defense dwindle fast. That's why Holmgren might need to go off the map and bring in an established player with a contract.
Even with Carle back, which is far from guaranteed, since you can't tell how a player will react when the dollar signs and offers come in, the Flyers could use a piece or two to fill out the lineup.
"I think short term and long term, we've got a lot to try and improve," Holmgren said. "There is always activity at the draft. You have a little more freedom to play with your roster at this time of year. Right now, everybody has, I don't want to say money to play with, but nothing is really set."
Contact Frank Seravalli at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @DNFlyers. For more Flyers coverage and opinion, read his blog at www.philly.com/FrequentFlyers.