After the Philadelphia Flyers’ phenomenal 10-game winning streak, they’ve gone an abysmal 1-6-2. But we’re not here to focus on the negative. We’re here to focus on the one thing that’sa has remained constant: Ivan Provorov. While Provorov only has two assists and a plus/minus rating of -1 in the last seven games, he has still logged over 21:00 minutes in each game, topping out at 24:58 against the Nashville Predators.
Many Flyers fans would be surprised if at the beginning of the year they were told that Provorov would be their number one defenseman around 30 games into the year. This season, Provorov has a Corsi-for of 49.3% and starts in the defensive zone 49.2% of the time. In addition to that, Provorov has three goals and 13 assists for 16 points in 39 games.
4 on 2 odd man rush? Not a problem for Ivan Provorov pic.twitter.com/Zy8ZACKbvq
— Broad Street Hockey (@BroadStHockey) November 30, 2016
Not only has Provorov had an extremely productive rookie season on the offensive and defensive side of the puck, but he’s also managed to make Andrew MacDonald look like a capable top four defenseman. Through 31 games, MacDonald has 11 points, with two goals and nine assists, and has a similar Corsi-for of 47.0% this year. MacDonald has been paired with Provorov for a majority of the season as the Flyers’ shut-down pairing.
While MacDonald may not pass the eye test, his advanced statistics could argue otherwise. After a long stint in the AHL with the Lehigh Valley Phantoms, MacDonald has played his way back onto the Flyers roster and is now on the top pairing, being carried by the rookie Provorov.
Ivan Provorov beats Vasilevskiy for his first goal in the NHL! pic.twitter.com/fLTGF2emgn
— NHL 365 (@dbrMUT) November 24, 2016
The NHL has seen three different Norris Trophy winners over the last three years: Duncan Keith, Erik Karlsson and most recently Drew Doughty.
Provorov has been having a similar rookie season to that Doughty had with the Los Angeles Kings. Doughty finished the year with 27 points and a Corsi-for of 50.0% and started in his defensive zone 47.8% of the time.
It could be argued that Doughty is the best two-way defenseman in the league at the moment, and while it is difficult to compare two players based off a few statistics, it is important to remember that Provorov is a rookie and that every great player has a rookie season where they learn and grow.
Thirty-nine games into the season, Provorov has continually shown that he is deserving of the number one defenseman spot and night after night shuts down opposing team’s top performers. It is going to be exciting to see how Provorov continues to develop hopefully into a perennial Norris Trophy contender.
Ivan Provorov with two goals in 30 seconds to help the Flyers win the game against the Blackhawks! pic.twitter.com/kklSaei0xr
— NHL 365 (@dbrMUT) December 3, 2016