The City of Philadelphia has some athletes in all sports that can be future superstars in the coming years. With the likes of Carson Wentz, Joel Embid, and Rhys Hoskins. Now add Flyers young defenseman Ivan Provorov to the mix. Finally, Philly fans have a ton to cheer about on South Broad Street on a nightly basis.
Finally, the orange and black are seeing signs of good life on the blue-line for years to come. Three short years ago General Manager Ron Hextall started to revamp the Flyers future blue-line through the draft. Hextall used the attitude of, “If you build it, they will come.” In the midst of a youth infused season, the orange and black are seeing a superstar in the making. Thanks to a human shield in Provorov, they have finally struck gold.
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.”
His hard-work paid off in a big way, as 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. Provorov recorded his first NHL point an assist, in the same game. He 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 the young defenseman 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.
Provorov learned a lot from that game, as he stated, “That will never happen again.” To his delight that never happened again. He was a juggernaut on the Flyers blueline all season long, and led the team in average ice time with 21:59 per game. Moreover, in his first full season with the Flyers, Provorov registered 8 goals, and 30 assists for a total of 38 points in 82 games played.
Now at age 20, Provorov will be the face of the franchise for years to come. Proof in the pudding came after the game on November 2, 2017, against the St. Louis Blues. The orange and black defeated the Blues 2-0, as Provorov played nearly half the game amassing 27:11 in ice time. This marked his fourth consecutive game above 27 minutes in ice time. Even more impressive, Provorov was a human shield by blocking a whopping 10 shots. His nine blocked shots through two periods were a franchise record, a record that has stood since 1997.
If Provorov isn’t a Norris Trophy candidate at the completion of the 2017-18 season, then there is something wrong with the system. Provorov has registered 2 goals, 6 assists, and is a -1 on this short season. What’s even more impressive is that he has averaged 24:55 in ice time. 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.
This young stud defenseman in Provorov, should make Flyers fans feel good about the rebuild. He gives the dedicated fans that pack the house on a nightly basis hope for the future. The sky is the limit for this work-horse in Provorov. One thing is certain Flyers fans, the future is bright in Flyer land.
Mandatory Credit: Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports