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Philadelphia Flyers 25 Under 25: Will the real Ivan Provorov please stand up?

Biggest disappointment of the season? Ivan Provorov has a lot to prove to himself and the Flyers

NHL: Minnesota Wild at Philadelphia Flyers Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports

If you asked me a year ago what I thought about Ivan Provorov and his future with the Flyers I would have told you that he’s our number one defenseman now, and hopefully for the next ten plus years as well. Today, I’m not so sure. Last season was a disaster in many ways but few bigger and more worrying than Ivan Provorov’s down season. Fans were debating what the reason for his struggles could be; was it his shoulder injury from the Penguins series the year before? Was it because he changed the length of his stick heading into the season? Was it the system? Was it the coach? Was it because it was a contract year? I cant state enough how big this season is for Provorov and the rest of the team. The Flyers only have so many years left of Claude Giroux being Claude Giroux, and Jakub Voracek wasnt exactly his great self last year. This team needs to become a contender now. But even with a disappointing season behind him Provorov comes in at number two on our top 25 under 25 list.

No. 2: Ivan Provorov

Position: D
Age: 22 (1/13/1997)
Size: 6’1”, 201
Acquired Via: 2015 NHL Draft — Round 1, Pick 7
2018-19 League/Team/Statistics: Philadelphia (NHL) - 7 G, 19 A in 82 GP
Nationality: Russian
Ranking in BSH Winter 2019 25 Under 25: T-1

We still have no idea why he took a big step back in his development, but i dont think it’s unreasonable to think that last year being a contract year could play a big part. I can only imagine how stressful it must be to know that if you dont perform to the high standards put on you, you might lose out on a lot of money. It’s not fair to blame Provorov for the Flyers’ failure last year but he is supposed to be a leading force that makes this team a contender, so of course there will be more pressure on him than players like Corban Knight - who i still dont think is a real hockey player.

We’re now in early September and Provorov still isn’t signed to a contract extension, which is really worrying for a couple of different reasons. First of all, it would be a huge mistake to have Provorov miss time because of the contract extension like William Nylander did with the Toronto Maple Leafs last year. It would be even worse for the Flyers than it was for the Maple Leafs because Provorov is “The Guy” here. Secondly, I am personally worried about his next contract. Was this just a down year, or maybe he just isn’t the number one defenseman we all hoped he was going to be? The Flyers can’t afford to sign Provorov to a eight-plus-million-per-year contract for the next six to eight years with him turning out to be anything other than a number one defenseman. I would have prefered a bridge deal, but I don’t see that happening because he’s been used as a one for his whole tenure as a project. I think he’ll end up signing a six-year deal with a AAV of just above 8 million dollars a year.

Let’s end on a positive note, because I think there’s a chance he will bounce back this year. I truly hope and believe that Alain Vigneault’s system will fit the Flyers defensemen and I think the addition of Matt Niskanen especially can help Provorov and the rest of the defense. I think a big part of the Flyers’ struggles last year were related to young players being relied on to play bigger roles than they were ready to take on, and hopefully with the additions of veterans like Matt Niskanen, Justin Braun and Kevin Hayes the young players will slot into roles they can handle and hopefully take a step forward in their development.

The Flyers should be a much improved team this season and hopefully Provorov will be a big part why.

Previously in Philadelphia Flyers Summer 2019 Top 25 Under 25