With training camp coming to an end and only a few roster spots remaining, the Flyers have a decision to make regarding Ivan Provorov. The NHL Collective Bargaining Agreement precludes Provorov from playing in the AHL this season, so he’s either with the big club or back the WHL for another season. Ron Hextall has previously said he doesn’t believe in the nine game tryout, which means if Provorov breaks camp with the Flyers, he’s likely going to spend the entire season with the club, however given one comment earlier by Ron Hextall, he is going to keep his options open.
If eight defenders break camp with the Flyers, it’s like these are the names:
Michael Del Zotto – Radko Gudas
Nick Schultz – Mark Streit
Ivan Provorov – Shayne Gostisbehere
Brandon Manning – Andrew MacDonald
Given the contract rules for the expansion draft, the Flyers would be wise to try to play Andrew MacDonald for 40 games this season, leaving Brandon Manning as the odd-man out. However, given the fact that Brandon Manning is unequivocally better than MacDonald, playing Manning as the 7th defender, makes far more sense.
Via Own the Puck
Having eight defenders on the roster means that if Provorov has nine bad games to start the season, the Flyers can pivot on him and send him back to Junior and still be left with 7 defenders and Sam Morin and Travis Sanheim just itching for callups from the Phantoms.
But, let’s not be negative, let’s try to project just how Provorov can perform if he stays for a full season.
And now, a look at Provorov’s numbers in the WHL:
With 1.177 points per game in the WHL regular season last season, Vollman’s model would predict that Provorov would hit .3 points per game in the NHL or 25 points per 82 games. This would put Provorov second in scoring among the Flyers defense from last year, behind Gostisbehere’s Calder Finalist 46 points and slightly ahead of Mark Streit’s 23 points, albeit, both these players appeared in roughly 80% of games last season.
Given the fact that Gostisbehere, Del Zotto and Streit are all powerplay options, it’s possible Provorov doesn’t see a lot of PP time. Of course, if Mark Streit shows his age, Del Zotto’s wrist has any issues or Ghost has a sophomore slump, he can easily find himself logging big minutes quickly.
Provorov is going to become a big part of the Flyers defense soon, maybe it’s this year, maybe not. The Flyers are built in a way to handle both options and while Ron Hextall may not believe in the nine game tryout, he has insurance to make it an option.