On Tuesday, the Flyers released their final roster for the 2021 season, naming Ivan Provorov as one of their four Alternate Captains. According to the press release, Provorov will serve as the permanent Alternate Captain for home games.
The announcement comes a day before “Provy’ and the Flyers open their season against hated Pittsburgh Penguin on January 13th. It also happens to be Provorov’s 24th birthday.
The Flyers also announced that Sean Couturier will be a permanent Alternate Captain while Kevin Hayes and Jakub Voracek will rotate the ‘A’ during road games.
Provorov, AKA Provy, AKA The Russian Bear
Provy has been a fixture on the blue line since he broke into the NHL. It is rare to not see number nine on the ice, with the 23-year-old averaging 23:56 in time on ice per game for his career. He hasn’t averaged less than 24 minutes per game since his rookie season.
But what is even more impressive is that he’s yet to miss a game due to injury. In fact, he even played through a game 6 matchup against Pittsburgh back in 2017-18 with a Grade 3 AC sprain!
Provorov appears to take pride in his fitness and toughness. He maintains a strict workout routine in the offseason and that didn’t change despite the pandemic flipping the last few months upside down.
His mental toughness also sets him apart and is something that was instilled at a young age. At 13-years-old, he left his home country of Russia to pursue his NHL aspirations, moving to Wilke Barre, PA, because of a strong Russian population. He played youth hockey until he moved onto juniors where he started in the USHL for Cedar Rapids, and eventually onto the WHL in Brandon.
Since making his NHL debut in style back in 2016, Provorov has continued to grow into a defensive beast and a true cornerstone of the Flyers defense. Provy has grown into a fan favorite and his career is showing no signs of slowing down anytime soon.
The former Wheat King signed a six-year contract with the Flyers last offseason. It was a large commitment from the team who drafted him with the 7th overall pick in 2015, especially after a wobbly 2018 that saw his production drop. He still managed 25:07 TOI, but had just 26 total points in comparison to the 41 mustered one year prior.
With 13 goals and 36 points to his name through 69 games last season, Ivan Provorov bounced back in a valiant way, earning the Barry Ashbee Trophy (Best defensive player), and ended a shortened season just four goals away from setting a new career-high.
His meteoric rise has been rewarded, and the 23-year-old will now don the ‘A’ and look to have the same impact on his teammates as players like Matt Niskanen had on him.
Talking of which, his new line-partner has been revealed.
Ivan Provorov will be joined on the top line by…
The Media and fans have been speculating on who will be Ivan’s defensive partner after Matt Niskanen retired this offseason. Alain Vigneault was keen to give everyone a fair shot of becoming the second half of the top defensive pairing during Training Camp. While most of us figured Phil Myers was going to secure the position, it became evident by Vigneault’s comments that might not be the case. AV really liked Myers and Travis Sanheim as a pairing.
Well we can speculate no more as Justin Braun will start the season on the right side of Provy. AV stated the following:
Brauner brings a steady element to a duo. You know that offensively he won’t be too flashy, but I think that could be a good pair as far as getting the puck out of our zone and playing some good hockey against some good competition. If you remember last year, the sixth game when we played against Montreal and eliminated Montreal, Nisky was suspended. We put Brauner with Provy and we used him in more of a defensive role. Offensive zone faceoff, we threw Ghost out there with Provy. That is probably something we are going to use. In our zone, Brauner will probably get most of the assignments. If we do have enough offensive zone faceoff and Provy is there, there is a good chance we are going to send somebody else with him.
With Braun alongside to start the campaign, Provy will be leading the Flyers to victory while shutting down offensive players, starting with the Penguins tomorrow evening. Keep posted to PSN for updates during the game, and look for episode two of Sticks Up High coming out soon!
Mandatory Photo Credit: Alex Mcintyre