Twenty-year-old stud defenseman, Ivan Provorov, was by far the Flyers’ best player this season. Yeah, it’s a strong thing to say about a player who was only 19 years old going into his first NHL season, but there’s no doubt in my mind he was the best player on the team. Yeah, Wayne Simmonds had an amazing season – probably the best of his career overall – but to me, seeing Provorov game in and game out as a rookie ultimately swayed my opinion.
Provorov finished the season with 30 points – six goals and 24 assists – which was good enough for second in points for defensemen behind the offensive-minded Shayne Gostisbehere. Not only did Provorov contribute offensively, but he was also the best defensive defenseman, averaging 21:59 TOI throughout the season, which was highest on the team.
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Provorov also won the Barry Ashbee Trophy for being the Flyers’ best defenseman.
Coming into the season, it wasn’t 100% certain that Provorov would even make the team. Ron Hextall said that both Provorov and Travis Konecny would have to earn a roster spot … and they eventually did.
Provorov played all 82 games, cementing himself as the number one defenseman not only for this year, but for many years to come.
However, let’s not forget Provo had a horrid game, three games into the season against the Chicago Blackhawks with a -5 rating and an embarrassing fall over the blue line which led to a Chicago goal. After that game, however, he seemed to really find his place on the team and continued to grow and other than that game played extremely solid defensively. Maybe don’t forget that terrible game because it’s shown just how far the rookie has grown into place.
Provorov had a Corsi-For of 49.4% which is a miracle after being paired with human buoy Andrew MacDonald all year. Provorov was able to cover for the poor play of his partner and seemingly brought his talent level up at the same time. However little talent that it was.
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The attributes that Provorov brings to the Flyers is something that we’ll cherish for the next decade-plus (!) as he will be the staple on the blue line moving forward.
Overall Grade: A+