Ivan Provorov had just played 38:15 minutes through 52 shifts, scored a double-overtime game-winning goal, recorded an assist, four hits, two blocked shots and was a plus-3 in a do-or-die Game 6 for the Flyers.
Jakub Voracek was not surprised.
"Well, he’s a machine; obviously everybody knows that," Voracek said on Sept. 4, the day after the Flyers' 5-4 win over the Islanders that forced a decisive Game 7 in the second round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs. "I saw him after the game and you couldn't tell that he just played double overtime. He’s a big part of our team, he’s playing as a No. 1 defenseman."
Provorov was not one of 25 defensemen listed by the NHL Network in a tweet Monday asking for who the league's top player is at the position.
These types of lists make for fun offseason content. Everyone has also learned to not make too much of them. Why? Sean Couturier, please raise your hand and say hello. Positional rankings are bound to feature a few notable omissions. While Provorov is clearly not the top defenseman in the NHL, it is dumbfounding to see a list of what purportedly is the top 25 at the position and Provorov's name nowhere to be found.
Among all NHL defensemen in 2019-20, Provorov ranked first in power play goals (seven), eighth in minutes per game (24:51), tied for ninth in total goals (13), 19th in shorthanded minutes (189:30), tied for 25th in points (36) and 29th in blocked shots (111). The 23-year-old has never missed a game, playing in 315 straight since the start of his NHL career, and only eight blueliners have more goals than his 37 over the past three seasons: Dougie Hamilton (49), Zach Werenski (47), Roman Josi (45), Alex Pietrangelo (44), John Carlson (43), Brent Burns (40), Victor Hedman (40) and Kris Letang (40).
Veteran defenseman Justin Braun, who has played 669 career games and played with Burns in San Jose for eight years, has been impressed by Provorov.
"He can be a game-changer," Braun said in July. "When he winds it up, his vision, his strength, he can do it all, defends really well, he’s in phenomenal shape. He’s a young guy, but he's got it figured out already. He’s going to have a long career just because he’s figured it out so young, what he needs to do to be great."