Flyers

Flyers, Ivan Provorov agree to 6-year contract

Flyers, Ivan Provorov agree to 6-year contract

Updated: Friday, 9:36 a.m.

It is finally over.

Well, one at least.

On the night before 2019 training camp, Ivan Provorov and the Flyers agreed to a six-year contract with an average annual value of $6.75 million.

"We're pleased to have Ivan locked up for the next six years," Flyers general manager Chuck Fletcher said in a statement released by the team Friday. "Over the course of his young career, he has developed into one of the top young defensemen in the NHL. His commitment to the game and his teammates is second to none. He will be an important part of our success for years to come."

Provorov, a restricted free agent, had remained unsigned all offseason. Travis Konecny is the team's lone remaining RFA.

Provorov's agent Mark Gandler did well earning his client just shy of a $7 million AAV. Blue Jackets defenseman Zach Werenski, a player comparable to Provorov, signed a three-year, $15 million ($5 million AAV) contract on Monday. Werenski is 22 years old, was drafted eighth overall in 2015 and is coming off a 44-point season. Provorov is also 22 years old, was drafted seventh overall in 2015 and is coming off a 26-point season.

However, Provorov has not missed a game throughout his three-year NHL career, has been tasked with No. 1 defenseman responsibilities and delivered in 2017-18, putting up 17 goals, 41 points and a plus-17 mark. Among all NHL defensemen over the past two seasons, Provorov has played the 11th-most minutes per game (24:38), the ninth-most shorthanded minutes (449:51) and has scored the 18th-most goals (24).

It seemed Provorov's camp did not want to go the bridge route and understandably so when you look at the durability above. There's also no reason to think Provorov won't be better in 2019-20 and only improve over the course of the contract. Look at Sean Couturier for example. He came into the league at 19 years old and had his breakout season in Year 7 at 25 years old.

Provorov, an expected pillar to the Flyers' defense, is now locked up through the 2024-25 season. He will be the highest-paid Flyers blueliner, ahead of Matt Niskanen ($5.75 million) and Shayne Gostisbehere ($4.5 million). Provorov will be 28 years old at the end of his contract.

Last season, Provorov said he was healthy but admitted to pressing at times throughout a difficult season for the entire club. The Flyers were asking a lot of Provorov and Gostisbehere, who were confident and fresh off career seasons. Provorov, though, turned 22 years old in January and Gostisbehere was only 25 last season.

"There have been times where I've tried a little too much from a personal standpoint, from the team standpoint, and trying to do everything I can to help the team win," Provorov said in April. "We're not perfect, none of us are perfect."

Ironically, despite the new deal, some pressure should be relieved off Provorov's shoulders in 2019-20. The additions of veterans Niskanen and Justin Braun will aid in those efforts, while many anticipate a rebound season from Gostisbehere, along with bigger strides from Travis Sanheim and Philippe Myers. Robert Hagg (82 games last season) and Samuel Morin (2013 first-round pick) are big bodies and in the picture, as well.

Here's a look at the Flyers' potential defensive pairings:

Ivan Provorov-Matt Niskanen

Travis Sanheim-Justin Braun

Shayne Gostisbehere-Philippe Myers

The Flyers will need Provorov and just about everyone to be better in 2019-20 if they want to reach the playoffs. Last season, the team allowed the NHL's third-most goals per game at 3.41 and finished with a minus-37 goal differential.

Meanwhile, another important piece to 2019-20 puzzle may not be present for Day 1 of training camp Friday. Konecny, a 22-year-old that could bolster the team's depth at forward, does not have a new contract.

Once Konecny does, Fletcher's first offseason as Flyers general manager will be complete.

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Flyers vs. Coyotes: Live stream, storylines, game time and more

Flyers vs. Coyotes: Live stream, storylines, game time and more

The Flyers own a five-game winning streak and seven-game point streak.

On Thursday night, the Flyers (16-7-5) will try to extend those season-best streaks when they host the Coyotes (16-9-4).

Let's get into the essentials:

When: 7 p.m. ET with Flyers Pregame Live at 6:30 p.m. ET
Where: Wells Fargo Center
Broadcast: NBC Sports Philadelphia
Live stream: NBCSportsPhiladelphia.com and the NBC Sports MyTeams app

• During rookie camp, Joel Farabee, a 2018 first-round pick with a bright future in scoring goals, spoke about his strengths playing well on the penalty kill.

In fact, he said, "Honestly, I think by the end of my career, I'll be more of a PK guy rather than a power play guy."

When Alain Vigneault was told on Thursday about Farabee's comments, the Flyers' head coach smiled. He liked the 19-year-old rookie's passion for killing penalties.

With Michael Raffl out approximately four weeks because of a broken right pinkie finger, Farabee will get his wish by jumping into the Flyers' shorthanded rotation.

“There’s no doubt he’s a smart player," Vigneault said Thursday morning. "We’ve all noticed that from the beginning — the skill set and the smarts.”

The Flyers' penalty kill has been vastly improved under assistant coach Mike Yeo as it entered Thursday ranked third in the NHL at 85.9 percent. Coming into the season, the Flyers' penalty kill since to 2014-15 was at 78.4 percent, second worst among the league.

Vigneault said Farabee has watched film with Yeo and is ready to take on the shorthanded responsibility. How well Farabee plays in the role will have a sizable say in where the Flyers stand by the end of December.

• For tonight's game at least, the Flyers aren't ready to put Mikhail Vorobyev at fourth-line center. The Flyers will roll with 11 forwards and seven defensemen. Shayne Gostisbehere and Philippe Myers are coming off big-time performances, while Robert Hagg has earned playing time, as well.

• The Coyotes are 9-3-3 on the road and have allowed the NHL's second-fewest goals per game overall with 2.31.

“Speed, skill, they’re the third-best team in the league as far as the way they play on the road," Vigneault said. "They’ve been playing well for quite some time.”

• Impressive numbers from Travis Konecny:


Projected lineup

Forwards

Claude Giroux-Morgan Frost-Travis Konecny
Oskar Lindblom-Sean Couturier-Jakub Voracek
Scott Laughton-Kevin Hayes-Joel Farabee
James van Riemsdyk-Tyler Pitlick

Defensemen

Ivan Provorov-Matt Niskanen
Travis Sanheim-Justin Braun
Philippe Myers-Shayne Gostisbehere
Robert Hagg

Goalies

Brian Elliott
Carter Hart

 

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With injured Michael Raffl out a month, Flyers call up Mikhail Vorobyev

With injured Michael Raffl out a month, Flyers call up Mikhail Vorobyev

Updated: 2:13 p.m.

VOORHEES, N.J. — Mikhail Vorobyev, and the Flyers, are hoping a third time is the charm.

The 2015 fourth-round pick has been recalled on three occasions this season, with the most recent call-up coming Wednesday. With Michael Raffl out approximately four weeks because of a broken right pinkie finger suffered Tuesday night, Vorobyev is back and could center the Flyers' fourth line.

Raffl was placed on long-term injured reserve.

Vorobyev, a 22-year-old center with skill and penalty kill ability, has played six games with the Flyers this season. Down in Lehigh Valley with the AHL affiliate Phantoms, Vorobyev had 14 points (five goals, nine assists) through 19 games.

The Flyers will want to see him show consistent effort in limited minutes. That will have to be evident if he's going to stick in Raffl's absence.

“Misha, originally when he got here, I thought I liked the way he was playing, his energy," Flyers head coach Alain Vigneault said Nov. 6. "It slipped a little bit."

Vigneault said Wednesday after practice that the Flyers may play 11 forwards and seven defensemen Thursday when they host the Coyotes (7 p.m. ET/NBCSP), while 19-year-old rookie Joel Farabee will likely jump into the penalty kill rotation.

The Flyers have significantly improved their goal prevention and Raffl has always been a key piece to their defensive focus. His injury comes a week and a half after Scott Laughton, another important role forward, returned following a 13-game absence from a broken finger.

"It sucks, kind of a similar injury to mine with the finger, but just a sh---y scenario and a sh---y play," Laughton said of Raffl's injury. "It sucks, for sure, but guys are going to have to step up — that's what you have to do and that's what guys did when I was out.

"It definitely sucks to lose him on the ice, but off the ice, as well. He's huge for this group, for the young guys."

The Flyers are allowing 74 goals in 28 games after permitting 101 goals over 28 games last season. During their season-best five-game winning streak, the Flyers have surrendered 1.60 goals per game.

Raffl is one of the team's better puck possession forwards who helps control pace and has played the Flyers' third-most shorthanded minutes among forwards.

Vorobyev will get the first chance to fill the void.

 

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