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The sturdy Russian took a step back in 2020-21, but might have a breakout on the horizon. No. 3: Ivan Provorov
2020-21 League/Team(s): Philadelphia Flyers (NHL)2020-21 Statistics: 7 G, 19 A, 26 P in 56 GP (NHL)Age: 24Acquired In: 2015 (drafted)Ranking in Spring 2020 25 Under 25: 3
How did Provorov’s 2020-21 hockey season go? Is his stock trending up or down from where it was entering the year?
Provorov had a letdown after losing defensive partner Matt Niskanen to retirement, never really finding his rhythm and looking like the possibly transformative defender that everybody hoped he became in 2019-20. His stock is trending down, not in that he’s trending down as a player but more in the sense that our expanded set of data on his play has revealed some things about his long-term upside. Many entered 2020-21 viewing Provorov as the No. 1 defenseman, franchise cornerstone player that Philadelphia has been left without since Chris Pronger’s career ended; most exited the season with a very, very different opinion after witnessing a regression across the board from the top blue liner.
What are we expecting from Provorov this season? What should we be looking for from him?
Personally, it feels like Provorov is set to have a massive bounce back season for the Orange & Black. With the addition of Ryan Ellis to the top pair, No. 9 should see a huge jump in production, barring injuries. Provorov seems to be a complimentary player who excels when working with a savvy partner, and Ellis fits that role like a glove. Provorov’s best assets are his shot and consistency, so if he’s allowed to take more risks while unafraid of his partner getting cooked (see: Braun, Justin or Myers, Phil) he should reverse the trend of his past season. Expect a 40ish point season from him.
How does Provorov fit into the Flyers’ long-term plans? Where does he stand in the Flyers’ organizational depth?
Provorov isn’t going anywhere thanks to his long-term contract and youth, but it’s unknown where he’ll end up in the Flyers’ lineup with Cam York and Yegor Zamula still acting as relative unknowns. For now, he’ll remain Philadelphia’s undisputed No. 1 defender and top blue line cornerstone, but there’s a slim chance that York ends up surpassing him and becoming The Guy in the future.
What do we think Provorov’s ultimate NHL upside is, and how likely is it that he gets to something approaching that?
Ivan Provorov is and will continue to be a solid top pair defender who’s almost certainly best suited to acting as a team’s No. 2 guy. The course of his career has revealed that he is not, in fact, a player who is set to drive a pairing, and unless he breaks out much later than star defensemen typically do (entirely possible) he’s on track to remain a highly effective complimentary piece who works best in a compatible tandem with another proven top-pair player. Ryan Ellis should really help him take a step forward in this regard, and may even boost Provorov to new heights. Still, even if he does take a sizable leap in 2021-22, Provorov’s lack of skill quarterbacking offensive zone sequences as a playmaker might prevent him from ever becoming the surefire stud he was once touted as.
Previously in Flyers Summer 2021 Top 25 Under 25:
No. T-24: Ivan Fedotov
No. T-24: German Rubtsov
No. 23: Jay O’Brien
No. 22: David Kase
No. 21: Linus Hogberg
No. 20: Isaac Ratcliffe
No. 19: Ronnie Attard
No. 18: Connor Bunnaman
No. 17: Noah Cates
No. 16: Elliot Desnoyers
No. 15: Emil Andrae
No. 14: Samu Tuomaala
No. 13: Zayde Wisdom
No. T-11: Tanner Laczynski
No. T-11: Samuel Ersson
No. 10: Bobby Brink
No. 9: Egor Zamula
No. 8: Tyson Foerster
No. 7: Wade Allison
No. 6: Cam York
No. 5: Morgan Frost
No. 4: Travis Konecny