The Philadelphia Flyers are the envy of quite a few NHL teams right now for one reason: their vast amount of talented defensive prospects. I’ve spoken with quite a few scouts around the NHL about this topic and almost it was almost universally accepted the Flyers might have the best bunch of young defenders of any team.
I recently took a look at the Phantoms pair of young defenders in Samuel Morin and Robert Hagg. While both have flaws, they have a lot of upside, but there’s another young defender who isn’t talked about enough and his name is Ivan Provorov.
Ivan Provorov Finishes a Career Year in WHL
Prior to the start of the 2015-16 NHL season, quite a few within the Flyers organization thought he could make their NHL roster. Here’s what Flyers scout Tod Hearty had to say about Provorov.
I don’t like to make bold statements, but I think he (Provorov) could come in and just be one of the better defensemen on the team in training camp. They are going to see this guy and go ‘whoa’.
Provorov’s WHL season just concluded and he finished as the highest scoring defender in the league. In 62 games played, he scored 21 goals, assisted on 52 more for a total of 73 points, was a plus+64 skater and accumulated 16 penalty minutes.
Compare those figures to his last season of 60 games played, 61 points (15 goals, 46 assists) plus+36 skater and 42 penalty minutes and it’s easy to see he made huge improvement in a year.
Additionally, Provorov was named team MVP of the Brandon Wheat Kings and Brad McCrimmon top defenseman.
If you want to see just how talented Provorov is, take a look at his highlights from just the first half of his 2015-16 season.
And now just realize that he’s only 19-years old and only going to continue to improve. It isn’t a question anymore, Provorov is almost a lock to make the Flyers 2016-17 NHL roster.
Provorov can join the Flyers, begin learning how to “be a pro” and make mistakes without it significantly hampering the team. If he comes into training camp and plays as well as many know he can, he’ll immediately jump to the Flyers NHL roster and it’s a big transition for anyone, but even bigger when coming right from the juniors.
Early this season, almost every scout I talked to about Shayne Gostibehere (while down in the AHL) said “he was playing the wrong league.” That’s the type of impact that Provorov could have at the AHL level and it’s likely he will look out of place, but regardless it could be great experience for the young defender if he isn’t ready for NHL action to start the 2016-17 season.