The 2019-20 NHL regular season has concluded and the next time the puck drops will officially kick off the race to the Stanley Cup. The Flyers are hungry and ready to battle it out, but that is thanks to the hard work from back in October.
In an End to End series, NBC Sports Philadelphia’s Brooke Destra, Joe Fordyce and Jordan Hall will be grading players based on individual performances.
Today we will be looking at Ivan Provorov.
From the minute his name was announced in the 2015 NHL draft and Provorov was on his way to the Flyers, there was a strong sense of hope for the future of the team’s blue line. That feeling has only continued to grow since — with its current peak being the 2019-20 season.
A big part of this was thanks to the acquisition of seasoned defenseman Matt Niskanen. He not only gave Provorov the ability to be a force during every one of their shifts, but was also a true veteran leader for the 23-year-old. In prior seasons, Provorov displayed his strength and the potential of what he could become in years to follow — this is the year that narrative changed. What a treat it has been to watch someone so young, with the talent and discipline he has, put his name on the map.
There’s no denying that Provorov is a workhorse — he led the team in time on ice with 24:51, led defensemen in points with 36 (13 goals, 23 assists). This season he also reached career milestones of 100 points and 300 games played. By the looks of the player he’s quickly becoming, it’s safe to say this is just the beginning.
A+ for the future (and the now) of the Flyers’ blue line.
The addition of Niskanen has done wonders for Provorov’s game and as a result, this year we’ve seen him be more of a force on both ends of the ice. Much of that is because of Niskanen’s positionally sound play that allows Provorov to freelance from the opposite point. Another key to Provorov’s season was his health. Last season, Provorov was returning from an injury suffered in the previous season’s playoffs and it showed; he looked like a totally different player.
While Provorov still has some work to do, as most players do, he’s taken a huge step this season. Flyers Postgame Live analyst Al Morganti has often referred to Provorov as the “adult in the room” despite his young age. Last season was a departure from that sort of reputation for Provorov. This season though, Provorov returned to that form and clearly will be a mainstay on the Flyers' blue line for the long-term future.
An A for Provorov.
Provorov, the team's Sean Couturier on the blue line, once again didn't miss a contest (he has suited up in 315 straight since the start of his career), played the league's eighth-most minutes per game at 24:51, led all NHL defensemen in power play goals with seven, and led Flyers blueliners in goals (13), points (36), blocked shots (111), shorthanded ice time (189:30) and man advantage ice time (210:05).
The winner of the 2019-20 Barry Ashbee Trophy has become a bona-fide do-it-all defenseman for the Flyers at 23 years old.
A- for Provorov's impressive rebound in Year 1 of the 2015 first-round pick's new contract.
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