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How good of a deal is the Provorov extension?

Hint: Fletcher did a good job on this one!

NHL: Philadelphia Flyers at Calgary Flames Candice Ward-USA TODAY Sports

Earlier in the offseason, our very own Kurt wrote a piece projecting what Ivan Provorov’s contract extension could look like. There were questions about potentially bridging Provorov, and conflicting information about the AAV ask from Provorov’s agent led to more questions than answers. However, we finally have a resolution to this long drawn out negotiation, and it turns out that there was little to worry about.

In Kurt’s article, he eventually came to the following conclusion:

“Until then, we’re left to make some guesses. Based on a six-year deal, we had Provorov somewhere between $5.83 and $6.33 million per season — let’s meet roughly in the middle and say $6.1 million per year is our guess“

Ultimately, it was a solid estimate as Provorov will earn $6.75 million on a six year contract. The number here is slightly higher than both Kurt’s estimate and Evolving Wild’s contract projections, but it’s certainly not criminal. It is a very fair deal in my opinion, however, that does not necessarily mean that it’s a good deal. I’ll be taking a look at this notion.

There were two factors that ultimately would influence Provorov’s contract: existing comparables and the deals that RFA defensemen would sign in this window. Taking into account the information that we know, Provorov grades above the average comparable contract in terms of value (by Kurt’s comparables). The average contract was for 6.38 years at $4.94 million.

More importantly however, is the consideration that Provorov’s AAV turns out higher than some of the better defensemen on this list for the term he got. All of Morgan Reilly, Seth Jones, and Hampus Lindholm are receiving less per annum than Provorov. While one can argue about whether Provorov is better or worse than those three, the fact that he is out-earning them by over a million is the interesting takeaway.

Provorov Contract Comparables

Player Term Value
Player Term Value
Morgan Reilly 6 years $5.0 AAV
Seth Jones 6 years $5.4 AAV
Hampus Lindholm 6 years $5.25 AAV

More pertinent, however, was the market and how it was going to be set by similar RFA defensemen. When I say this, I’m in particular looking at Zach Werenski, who signed a three year deal for $5.0 million AAV. I can say for certain that when I saw this contract was announced, I didn’t think that Provorov was going to get a similar deal, though there were thoughts out there concerning it.

Ultimately, Werenski’s deal did not alter the term of Provorov’s contract. Whether or not it should have, however, is a different question. Werenski has been a more effective play-driving defenseman, and has put up better Corsi-for numbers (50.06% vs Provorov’s 47.61%, 54.17% for Werenski in 2017-18 vs Provorov’s 49.69%). One can therefore argue that Werenski got a far better deal due to him being a more effective defenseman (though the “better than” argument can be up to personal preference).

However, it is important to consider that Werenski only signed a three year contract, meaning that he is in line to be paid even more down the line if he continues to improve. Werenski is only signed through his age 24 season, and he’ll possibly be a free agent at 25. Compare this to Provorov, who is signed through his age 28 season. The Flyers will cover most of his prime, and if he improves to the level that we were seeing from him in prior seasons, then this deal will look very smart. Even if you would chose to argue that Provorov was overpaid, it is not a gross overpay.

As I stated before, his deal does eclipse his projected AAV, but in the case of the Evolving Wild projections, he is only being overpaid by around $135K. I can live with that. To me, this is a deal that is very fair, and the only detractors seem to be those who are downtrodden on Provorov’s ability. Personally, I think Provorov has what it takes to bounce back and be this team’s #1 defenseman, so I have no worries. It is a good deal. It may not be a very good deal, but it is a good deal.

Advanced stats courtesy of Corsica Hockey