December 19, 2014: Russia defenceman Ivan Provorov (29) skates with the puck against Canada in an exhibition game at Air Canada Centre, Toronto, ON. Dan Hamilton/Icon Sportswire
Other than Mikko Rantanen, the other likely prospect to be available when the Flyers pick at #7 overall at the NHL Entry Draft is Ivan Provorov from the Brandon Wheat Kings of the WHL.
Provorov is a smooth skating Russian defender who put up a point per game in the WHL heading into his draft year. To put it in perspective, Travis Sanheim didn’t duplicate this feat until this past season after being drafted.
To put how impressive a point per game is for a defender in their draft year, here’s a list of some WHL trained defenders who never put up a point per game: Shea Weber, Cody Franson, Brent Seabrook. Dion Phaneuf would hit only a point per game in his overage year, 2 years after being drafted.
Rob Vollman’s NHLE states that .26 is the WHL-NHL equivalency. With defenders, there’s a far larger standard deviation than the average though, so this number is less accurate than it is for forwards. For instance, Shea Weber and Brent Seabrook both have decent NHL scoring compared to their lack of point per game seasons in the WHL. So, in fact, there’s a bit of a range that shows itself as players mature, hit their primes and earn power powerplay time.
Combining the WHL season and playoffs, Provorov had 0.9367 points per game, which under the Vollman model is good for 0.244 points per game or 20 points per 82 games. Shea Weber and Cody Franson both had near 27 point per 82 game paces as rookies after sliding and seasoning in the AHL, Brent Seabrook was up near .5 points per game for the same reasons.
For Provorov, this means he’s likely a top end defender with top PP ability. He might be a 20 point guy now, but realistically his low end potential is Mark Streit.
Via Own the Puck
Streit’s a top pair defender offensively, while a third pair defender defensively, as we know, he’s a solid quarterback of the top PP unit. Remember, this Provorov’s low end projection, his high end is probably more akin to Drew Doughty.
Via Own the Puck
Drew Doughty’s a true top pair defender and that is something the Flyers need badly. Provorov will help with this, but the question remains of if he is even on the board at #7. The good news is, barring a major slip up, either Mikko Rantanen or Ivan Provorov will survive to number seven, so the Flyers can either pick a top six wing or top four defender both of whom have potentials to be top line/top pair players.