— Carolina Hurricanes (@NHLCanes) June 17, 2015
It would have been unbelievable a few months ago, but it just a few days out, it’s very possible that Russian-born defenseman Ivan Provorov may be the first defenseman off of the board at the 2015 NHL Entry Draft.
The well-rounded, if somewhat undersized defender possess a solid two-way game and high-end offensive instincts. Though he’s a choppy skater, there’s no denying his speed and his dynamic ability to rush the puck. One wonders if he might be able to add an additional gear with the right skating coach, and that’s a frightening thought indeed.
Provorov checks in at #9 on our list, read on past the jump!
- Age: 17.67 years old at start of season. Born January 13, 1997
- Birthplace: Yaroslavl, Russia
- Frame: 6’0, 201 lbs
- Position: D
- Draft Year Team: Brandon Wheat Kings
- Accomplishments: 2015 WJC Silver Medalist, 2015 CHL Top Prospects Game Participant, 2015 WHL East First All-Star Team, 2015 WHL Rookie Points and Assists Leader, 2015 WHL Eastern Conference Champion, really likes Drake.
|GP||ES G||ES A1||ES A2||ES Pts||ES Pts/GP||ES GF%||ES GF% Rel||TmG%||TmPts%||AA Pts/GP||EA Pts/GP||Adj Pts/GP|
- TmG% = Percentage of team goals a player scored in that player’s games played
- TmPts% = Percentage of team goals a player registered points on in that player’s games played
- AA Pts/GP = Age adjusted points per game
- EA Pts/GP = Era and league adjusted points per game
- Adj Pts/GP = Age, era, and league adjusted points per game
|PCS% 2014||PCS Pts/82 2014||PCS% 2015||PCS Pts/82 2015|
|PCS Most NHL GP||PCS Highest Pts/GP|
|Sylvain Cote||Kevin Shattenkirk|
|Scott Hannan||Ryan Suter|
|Patrice Brisebois||Yves Racine|
- PCS = Our Player Cohort Success model. Click here for more information about PCS.
An offensively gifted defenceman who can direct the game’s pace when the puck is on his stick. Provorov is a quick and agile skater with an accurate release on his shot, which he can get off anywhere below the blue line; creates many chances on the power play and can even create offense during the penalty kill. Is an adroit and creative passer who knows how to use his teammates well. All-in-all, a complete defenceman who knows how goals are scored and executes accordingly.
Ivan understands the game extremely well and is able to use his considerable talents to contribute in any area and every situation. Calm, poised and competitive he is in command when he’s on the ice. The best defenceman in this draft and I see him as a number one who will anchor a blue line.
Ivan Provorov is a steady and smart two-way defenceman for the Brandon Wheat Kings…possesses a smooth, composed and powerful skating stride…can accelerate away from a forecheck or into an offensive lane due to the strength of his first few steps…could stand to add a bit more pure top speed as he slowly gets closer to playing in the NHL, although he’s surely not a slow skater by any means…displays strong edgework as he appears to be fairly light on his feet…oozes hockey sense and plays with a remarkably high level of poise…never seems to be flustered by physical contact or by the pressure of a forecheck…executes crisp, accurate and well-timed outlet passes…passes the puck harder than most players at this level with his long stick possessing a high amount of whip to it…can add some touch to his passes, softening them when necessary…has the ability and composure to reverse the play or circle back in his own zone if he doesn’t like what he sees in front of him when attempting to exit the zone…is more of a puck-mover than puck-rusher but has the ability to rush it when the situation calls for it…seemed to lack some “wow factor” for much of the year but dispelled that with a few big plays in the second half of the season…carries his right elbow very high towards the sky when carrying the puck providing a unique look…that look is mainly due to the fact that he plays with a 4-inch extension on his stick, which greatly aids him on either side of the biscuit…possesses a very hard wrist shot with a quick release…excels at getting wristers on net through traffic thanks to footwork at the offensive line and the ability to subsequently change shooting angles…his shooting game also features an absolute bomb of a one-timer and that element of his game will make him a 15-20 goal threat at the NHL level…can quarterback a powerplay quite comfortably, showcasing the ability to be a threat as a passer, shooter or a guy that sneaks in the backdoor…understands offensive spacing and how players need to be positioned in order to dissect a penalty killing unit…is a composed defender…keeps tight gaps due to his high level of skating ability…displays excellent stick work which is a great compliment to his tight gap control…understands hip and shoulder angles when it comes to defending on the rush or on the cycle…very rarely puts himself in a bad position with an over-aggressive play on the defensive side of the puck…plays regular penalty killing minutes along with his time on the PP…isn’t a killer physically on a game to game basis but can lower the boom when he wants to…doesn’t look like a big kid but is surprisingly thick, strong and sturdy…regularly catches players off guard when they attempt to play physical with him…has very few weaknesses in his game and would be considered an extremely well-rounded player who can play in any situation…spent basically 95% of the season on the Wheat Kings top defensive pairing with fellow draft-eligible defender Ryan Pilon…looks to be one of the more NHL-ready players in this years draft class, not just from the WHL…it wouldn’t shock me if he had a strong showing in training camp and stuck in the NHL next year, although I think in the long-term it would make the most sense for him to spend another year in the WHL with Brandon…after a dynamite regular season I noticed a decent drop-off in his play as the postseason went on, citing potential injury or just general fatigue…was the WHL’s Eastern Conference Defenceman Of The Year this season, losing the league title to Shea Theodore of the Seattle Thunderbirds…featured very consistent production offensively this year as he didn’t have one month all regular season where he was under a point-per-game
Provorov destroyed the WHL as a 17-year-old starring on an excellent Wheat Kings team that ultimately qualified for the WHL Final, before losing out to the Memorial Cup runner up Kelowna Rockets. The Wheat Kings were the WHL’s third best puck possession team, according to shot-based estimates from CHLstats.com, and Provorov led all ‘Wheaties’ defensemen in estimated time-on-ice and scoring.
In fact, Provorov was one of the best offensive defenseman in the entire WHL, which is a very impressive feat for a 17-year-old. By points per game only Shea Theodore (19-years-old), Madison Bowey (19-years-old), and Joe Hicketts (18-years-old) were more productive than Provorov, and the Russian-born defender also finished in the top-10 among WHL defenders in even-strength point production. Adjusted for age, there was no WHL blue liner more productive offensively than Provorov was last season.
So essentially Provorov produced at an elite rate from the back-end while holding down a starring, minutes eating role on a top CHL team as a 17-year-old. Not. Too. Shabby.
PCS doesn’t love Provorov necessarily, but the numbers do suggest that Provorov authored a rare season indeed in Brandon, MB. (always a promising sign). In this millennium, the PCS tool uncovers just fourteen players who had comparable age-17 CHL seasons. Five of these players, including Dan Hamhuis, have become regular NHLers, while Brandon Gormley looks well on his way to that too. Older comparable players include Stephane Robidas, Garth Butcher and Scott Hannan, while Kevin Shattenkirk and Ryan Suter appear as comparables from Provorov’s 16-year old season in the USHL.
Most of Provorov’s recent comparables were selected in the top-50 of their respective NHL draft classes for a reason – they were super elite junior players. As is Provorov. It’s also probably worth noting that Blum, Elliott and Hickey didn’t possess Provorov’s girth at age-17, and weren’t as widely praised for their defensive game.
Provorov profiles as a two-way defenseman with first-pair upside. If he reached his ceiling, he’ll be an enormously valuable piece. By the numbers and to my eyes, he doesn’t quite look like the slam dunk top-five overall pick that he’s been billed as of late, but Provorov has a growing chorus of admirers within the industry for a reason – he’s very, very good.