SUNRISE, Fla. -- With the 7th pick in the 2015 NHL draft, the Philadelphia Flyers have selected defenseman Ivan Provorov of the WHL's Brandon Wheat Kings. He joins Travis Sanheim, Samuel Morin, Shayne Gostisbehere and Robert Hagg to make what might be the NHL's most impressive young group of prospects on defense.
Provorov is familiar with Eastern Pennsylvania. A native of Russia, he came to the United States at age 15 in hopes of making the NHL. His first team in the U.S. was the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Knights, based out of Pittston, where he played for several years before graduating to the USHL with the Cedar Rapids Roughriders for the 2013-14 season. He changed course prior to the 2014-15 season, opting to go to Canada to play major junior.
In Brandon, Provorov had an amazing rookie year. We'll let this scouting report pick it up from here:
... The young Russian defensemen finished the season with 61 points and 15 goals (both of which were first among draft-eligible and rookie defensemen) in 60 games.
Provorov's 15 goals were bested only by Capitals prospect Madison Bowey (17) who played on the league's best team, the Kelowna Rockets, as well as a pair of Victoria Royal defensemen (prospect Travis Brown and diminutive defensemen-turned-forward Jack Walker) who played more than 10 more games than Provorov.
Provorov is more than that in-your-face, scoring defender though. He plays a complete game in his own end, and is an adept penalty killer. His creativity as a passer also give him more than one weapon in the offensive zone.
And while Provorov isn't as gifted a skater as his top defensive counterparts Noah Hanifin and Zach Werenski are, his pure strength and strong, low stride remain assets. He's also one of the classes best stickhandler from the backend.
Statistically, he stands out from the pack. In fact, Provorov's 0.95 age adjusted points per game (aaPPG) ranked first in the WHL this season, ahead of Anaheim's Shea Theodore (0.89), Detroit's Joe Hicketts (0.88), and Philadelphia's Travis Sanheim (0.83). ...
We selected Provorov with this pick in SB Nation's NHL Mock Draft, so we obviously think this is a wonderful pick for the Flyers. Yes, the team is still short on the wing and at forward in general, but Provorov is too good an option to pass up -- he has the potential to surpass every other one of those D prospects in the organization, and if all goes well, he can lead this team as their No. 1 defenseman for years to come.
When exactly his NHL career begins remains to be seen, but there's plenty of reason to be excited about Ivan Provorov.
We'll have much more on the pick later tonight, including some words from the man himself.