With the seventh overall pick in the 2015 NHL Draft, the Flyers bolstered the blue line by getting their top target, defenseman Ivan Provorov.
I profiled Provorov earlier this offseason here, but we take a much closer look in this scouting report.
Provorov is 6’0” and 201 pounds and played in 60 games for the Brandon Wheat Kings in the WHL, scoring 15 goals and adding 46 assists for 61 total points. The Russian defenseman really has no flaws to his game.
He’s a workhorse with top-pair potential. His hockey knowledge is through the roof, part of what makes him an outside chance of making the Flyers roster for the 2015-16 season.
When you look at the Flyers most recent drafts, defense has been the focal point of building a champion. Sam Morin and Shayne Gostisbehere appear to be solid pieces for a second pairing. Last year, the Flyers drafted Travis Sanheim, who appears to have first-pair potential.
Provorov is a perfect compliment for Sanheim, and his offensive knowledge, vision and skating ability make him a pleasure to watch.
Perhaps the most critical thing is for all the offensive flash that Provorov can show, he a skilled two-way player. Some even believe that while Provorov’s gifted offensive talent is the highlight, he’s actually a better player in his own zone.
The Flyers needed to find a player that can bring a calming influence to the ice in key situations. Look no further than Provorov.
He is poised beyond his years and can handle the big minutes and the big moments.
Defensively, he doesn’t have any glaring weaknesses. He can position himself well, uses his physicality and sacrifices the body to make a play and has a very active stick in passing and shooting lanes. He competes at a very high level, something that should excite Flyers fans.
This is a guy who plays in all situations, wants to be on the ice and gets up for the big moments. He’s got all the makings of a future leader and All-Star.
Here are a couple of takes on Provorov:
“While the debate will rage, I see Ivan as the best and most complete defenceman in the draft. His command of all the situations in the game allows him to contribute and make an impact regardless of what’s confronting him. Ivan can make the game look effortless with a brilliant understanding of what’s unfolding in front of him either from a defensive or offensive standpoint. His skating, quickness and balance, pinpoint passing, poise under pressure and a great competitive determination align to make him a defenceman who can influence the play and the outcomes in a consistent and positive manner.” - Craig Button, TSN
“Ivan Provorov is a pro-style defenseman that shows a high level of poise and precision in his ability to transition the puck. He plays a well-rounded and mature game, and his ability think and create in all aspects of the game has scouts buzzing about his NHL potential.” - Zenon Herasymiuk, Future Considerations
If he doesn’t crack the roster this season, he probably will soon after.
Ron Hextall said he was going to select the best player available with the seventh pick. He did that and then some.
Kevin Durso is managing editor for Flyerdelphia. Follow him on Twitter @Kevin_Durso.