Ivan Provorov Playing Beyond His Age

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SAN JOSE, CA - DECEMBER 30: Ivan Provorov #9 of the Philadelphia Flyers looks on during the game against the San Jose Sharks at SAP Center on December 30, 2016 in San Jose, California. (Photo by Rocky W. Widner/NHL/Getty Images)

The Philadelphia Flyers knew what they were getting when they drafted defenseman Ivan Provorov in the 2015 NHL Entry Draft. They were getting a player who was capable of playing consistent hockey in all three zones, was responsible in his own end, and could create chaos for opposing teams.

After being drafted, many scouts thought Provorov was ready to immediately jump into the NHL. GM Ron Hextall thought otherwise and elected to give the defenseman another year in juniors. That extra year paid off for the Flyers in the best way possible.

Ivan Provorov Playing Beyond Age

Coming into the league as a 19-year old is never an easy task. The competition is bigger, the schedule is longer, and the speed is faster. It is understandable for a rookie to take some time to adjust. The adjustment for Ivan Provorov came quickly, however.

The 19-year old rookie is already the Flyers best defenseman in his first year. He leads the team in average ice time per night, upwards of 21 minutes per game. Not only is Provorov seeing plenty of time during even strength, he is also quarterbacking the team’s second power play unit.

The trust to play in all situations was earned fairly quickly by Provorov. Head coach Dave Hakstol has admitted how much the young defenseman has progressed. “Provy is a different player with a different chair on our team.” Hakstol recently said. “What we wanted to do early on was make sure that he had time to build that foundation and adjust and he did that fairly quickly and he keeps improving.”

Provorov often finds himself up against opponent’s top players. He has seen time against Patrick Kane, Jaromir Jagr, and Connor McDavid. He has shut down these players as well. His most impressive moment came against Jagr when he helped hold the veteran forward to just one shot and drew a penalty against him in a win against the Panthers in December.

Hard Work Paying Off

Hard work and determination is what helped Provorov become the player that the Flyers trust. His recent summer workout routine may have also had something to do with it.

The offense has shown for Provorov as well. Just 43 games into his young career, he has contributed with three goals and 16 assists. That puts him seventh on the team in points. The 16 assists find him third on the team. He is also the only defenseman to appear in every game.

There’s nothing flashy about the way that Provorov plays. You won’t see him make that one play that will have you talking for days. What you will see, however, is a 19-year old rookie playing as if he has been in the league for years. And his teammates have taken notice all season long.

“I think he has done a great job all year long and he is only going to get better.” Wayne Simmonds said after the Panthers game. “If you watch him play, he is getting better and better, not every game but every shift.”

“He’s the oldest 19-year old out there,” Claude Giroux said. “He works on his game every day so he’s only going to get better.”

With a future as bright as the Flyers have on the back end, Provorov is among the best. That is not something that he focuses on, however. It’s a team first mantra for the rookie. “For me, the team is most important. If the team plays well and everything goes the right way…it’s about team success,” Provorov said.

With a mindset like that, Provorov will surely continue to earn even more responsibilities as his time in the NHL continues. And the team will continue to enjoy what they see on the ice.

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