On Friday, as our turn in the SB Nation NHL mock draft came up, we at BSH took Brandon Wheat Kings defenseman Ivan Provorov with the No. 7 pick in the draft. If the voting on our community board from yesterday was any indication, that's a pick that you all would be more than happy to see come to fruition.
Provorov came away from Friday's vote as the leader amongst the nine candidates listed, picking up 45 percent of the vote. The prevailing wisdom out there is that each of the draft's top five prospects (Connor McDavid, Jack Eichel, Dylan Strome, Mitch Marner, and Noah Hanifin) are all pretty unlikely to fall to No. 7, so for Provorov to end up as the No. 6 guy on the board indicates that he's the favorite out there amongst the ones who actually have a good chance at getting drafted by the Flyers.
Since our opinions of Provorov as a prospect haven't changed much since yesterday morning, I'll start by linking back to what Travis wrote there:
He's a complete player who, unlike many offensively-skilled defensemen, doesn't lack and is responsible in his own zone. He can play all situations. And yes, while he played with a lot of talented players in Brandon this past year that some fear may have masked his skill, he's also shown off at the World Juniors for Russia ... at age 17.
On top of his skill, he commitment is off the charts -- something that's always a question with Russian players, fairly or not. After coming up in the Lokomotiv Yaroslavl program in Russia, he came to North America four years ago, playing in Wilkes-Barre, Pa. for two years before jumping to the USHL and finally, last season, the WHL.
"Commitment" is a nebulous thing to talk with elite level hockey prospects ... because of course they're all committed. But it does show a different, undeniable degree of foresight and commitment to leave your home country at age 14 and go to a place where you don't speak the language, all in the hope of eventually making the NHL.
Travis also mentioned that there are some folks out there who would even go as far as to call Provorov the best defensive prospect in the draft. I mentioned this on Friday when discussing Noah Hanifin, who you all voted at No. 5 on the board. While I see Hanifin as the better overall prospect with the higher ceiling, I could see a case for Provorov as the guy who may currently be the most well-rounded of the draft's blue-line prospects, or as the one who has the highest "floor" as an NHLer.
Because like Travis mentioned, Provorov's a very complete player. There aren't a ton of really obvious holes in his game. He's a pretty good skater, he's already got the size to play at this level, his overall hockey sense is excellent, and his outstanding point totals suggest his offensive game is very well-refined for an 18-year old.
There is no such thing as a sure bet when it comes to defensive prospects. But Provorov might be the closest to a sure bet to be a good NHL defenseman that exists in this draft. Can he be a great one? That's anyone's guess. But there's a whole lot to like here.
Much like with Hanifin yesterday, it's probably not a stretch to suggest that Provorov would immediately become the best prospect in the Flyers' organization were they to take him. The key difference between them (asset-wise, not in terms of their skills or pedigrees) would be their immediate NHL availability. While Hanifin can be sent to Lehigh Valley (and even shuffled to and from Philadelphia if necessary), Provorov would either have to spend next year in Brandon or in Philadelphia due to the league's CHL transfer agreement. And once the Flyers make that decision, they're stuck with it -- unless they want to send him back halfway through the year, effectively wasting a year of his entry-level contract. Which would, of course, be bad.
It's possible that the Flyers' logjam of defenders pushes Provorov back to the WHL for another year, which wouldn't be the worst thing in the world. But of all of the defensemen out there, he may be the one who'd be most likely to immediately push for a spot on the NHL team.
With that, we move on to No. 7. This is, of course, where the Flyers will be picking (barring some trade shenanigans), so this can be considered a fairly important vote as we try to establish a real top-7. As such, and since it's the weekend, we'll keep this poll open for two days before closing it at midnight on Sunday night and posting the results on Monday morning.
And for fun, we'll add one new name to the list. Go at it, folks.
Evgeny Svechnikov, LW, Cape Breton (QMJHL) - 32 G, 46 A in 55 G
This kid is big, and when you mix that with his offensive aptitude, you get a dangerous offensive force. Svechnikov posted 78 points (32 goals, 46 assists) in his first season with his junior team. He's a player that has continuously risen in the rankings over the past year because of his success in his first season playing in North America. ... Described mainly as a "power forward," Svechnikov has displayed a slick set of hands, and elite ability to dish up the puck to his teammates. Cape Breton head coach Marc-Andre Dumont said that there is "no doubt in his mind" that Evgeny wants to play in the NHL one day. With high-praises from coaching for hard work in the gym, watching film, or on the ice, Svechnikov has a high ceiling to be a scoring power forward at the NHL level one day.
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The 2015 BSH Community NHL Draft Board
- Connor McDavid, C, Erie (OHL)
- Jack Eichel, C, Boston University (NCAA)
- Dylan Strome, C, Erie (OHL) (45% of the vote)
- Mitch Marner, C/RW, London (OHL) (54%)
- Noah Hanifin, D, Boston College (NCAA) (77%)
- Ivan Provorov, D, Brandon (WHL) (45%)
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As always, please use your vote below to answer the following question: If all of the players listed were available when the Flyers were on the clock, who would you want them to pick?