Looking into a magic 8 ball, the Flyers may have found a potential superstar

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In the midst of a rebuild season, the Philadelphia Flyers hoped there would be one player that stands out. The Flyers have performed better as of late on the defensive end. Thanks to budding star Ivan Provorov, they have finally found a defenseman they can build around.

Provorov was born on January 13, 1997 in Yaroslavl, Russia. At age 13, Provorov left his parents, brother and sister in Yaroslavl, Russia, for Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania. The smooth skating defenseman had big dreams of playing in the NHL someday, as he began playing for a Wilkes-Barre youth hockey team.

“Provy” was rated as a top prospect in 2014-15 and he was selected 7th overall in the 2015 NHL Draft by the Flyers. He finally fulfilled his lifelong dream of possibly playing in the NHL.

After being drafted by the Flyers, he continued playing with the Brandon Wheat Kings for the 2015-16 season. Provorov won the WHL championship with the Brandon Wheat Kings in 2015-16 and was named WHL defenseman of the year. He signed an entry-level contract with the Flyers on July 3, 2015.

The former Brandon Wheat Kings product wanted to make a good impression on the Flyers brass in training camp, in hopes of staying up with the big club. Head coach Dave Hakstol had this to say about Provorov in training camp:

“His camp has been solid. I called it workman-like early on, and I continue to feel that way. That is his game. He plays an intelligent, efficient game. I think he has done a good job of working to stick to that as camp has gone on. He has been workman-like day in and day out, and that is his demeanor off the ice as well as on the ice. He has stayed true to that.”

The hard-working Provorov was added to the Flyers roster for the 2016-17 season. He made his NHL debut on October 14, 2016, against the Los Angeles Kings. He recorded his first NHL point, an assist, in the same game. Provorov scored his first NHL goal on November 23, 2016, against the Tampa Bay Lightning.

After playing against the Chicago Blackhawks on October 18, 2016, Provorov had arguably his worst game of his young career. Dennis Rasmussen was one-on-one Provorov in the Flyers zone, but Provorov fell down, allowing Rasmussen a chance alone on goaltender Michal Neuvirth. Rasmussen put the puck through Neuvirth’s legs for a 2-0 Blackhawks lead. The Blackhawks would go on to win the game 7-4.

At age 20, Provorov learned a lot from that game, as he stated, “That will never happen again.” To his delight, that has not happened again. After watching him play a few games at the NHL level this season, it became evident to the fans and the media alike he was the real deal. He immediately became entrusted with playing against the leagues best lines pairings. Night in and night out he shuts down the elite, and it makes him look like a seasoned veteran blue liner. Alex Ovechkin of the Washington Capitals had these kind words to say about Provorov, after the game on Wednesday night:

I see a very skilled defenseman, a very good puck mover. Obviously, he’s still young, but he can be a very good defenseman in the league. I see him as an All-Star.

In his first full season with the Flyers, he has registered 5 goals, and 19 assists for a total of 24 points in 60 games played. He leads the Flyers in average ice time with 21:37 for the current season.

The Flyers have possibly found the next Chris Pronger. Provorov is a fast blueliner, that has tons of talent which makes it seem like he is in his 30’s. He will be the face of the franchise for years to come. It should have Flyers fans feeling good about the coming years, as this is just the first step of the rebuild. Follow me on Twitter @JameyBaskow for all Flyers updates.

 

Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

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