Since the day he took over, John Tortorella has been clear that shaping the way forward for the Flyers group is as a lot about determining who will not be part of issues as who will. And in line with trade rumors that surfaced Tuesday, there’s an opportunity Ivan Provorov may not be part of the Flyers’ long-term plans.
According to a report by Sportsnet, the Flyers are open to conversations about buying and selling Provorov.
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That’s to not say a possible transfer might be instigated by Tortorella, who has praised Provorov at factors this season. It’s additionally no certainty that Provorov might be moved in any respect.
However, with the current buzz round Provorov, this is a breakdown of his state of affairs and what a trade for the defenseman would possibly seem like:
Why the Flyers would trade him
The Flyers have spent the previous few offseasons looking for the good participant to enrich Provorov on the high pair. Not solely have they failed to search out the proper accomplice, however Provorov himself has proven that he may not be proper for the high pairing.
His development has not gone as the Flyers would have anticipated after his 17-goal season as a 21-year-old in 2018. While he is nonetheless solely 25, the staff has had 500-plus video games to judge him. This season, Provorov has two objectives, 15 factors, a team-high 99 blocked photographs, and is minus-8. Sure, his offensive manufacturing has been restricted partly by a lower in power-play time, however the reality stays that he has did not take the subsequent step the group envisioned him making.
Additionally, Provorov may not be the proper match for the locker room. Last season, there have been a number of events when he did not take accountability together with his teammates and the media after making errors, which didn’t sit effectively with members of the group. The defenseman additionally confirmed frustration with the staff’s struggles and will push for a change of surroundings and a contemporary begin.
If the staff is, actually, rebuilding, Provorov, who has two years left after this season at a $6.75 million salary-cap hit, is perhaps value procuring for prospects and/or draft picks. Outside of James van Riemsdyk, whose contract expires at the finish of the yr, Provorov is certainly one of the solely property the Flyers have that might web a serious return.
Why the Flyers would preserve him
Provorov is an uncommon participant on the Flyers in that he logs main minutes (23 minutes, 10 seconds per evening) and does so with out breaking down.
While he struggled mightily final season, the staff did as a complete. His steadier efficiency this season displays the staff’s enchancment, which begs the query: How a lot can his struggles be attributed to him and the way a lot are they a product of a foul state of affairs? Provorov has not performed with a real top-pair accomplice since the departure of Matt Niskanen in 2020, so the staff would possibly wish to see if anything, like enjoying with Cam York (like he’s now), can reignite Provorov’s offense.
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While Provorov nonetheless reveals flashes of offense, he hasn’t constantly produced like he did early in his profession and will be mistake-prone. However, he performs a ton of minutes, blocks photographs, brings a bodily component, and performs with a competitiveness that fits Tortorella’s model of hockey.
Just as vital as what Provorov brings on the ice is what a possible purchaser brings to the desk, Brian Lawton, an NHL Network analyst and the former common supervisor of the Tampa Bay Lightning, identified. Lawton predicts it will likely be a purchaser’s market this yr, so, as sellers, the Flyers may not obtain gives candy sufficient to justify buying and selling a man they’ve relied on closely.
“You higher have a return that works, philosophically, with what you are making an attempt to perform,” Lawton stated.
In different phrases, the Flyers should not trade Provorov simply to trade him. They must carry again property that make buying and selling the Russian defenseman worthwhile.
What one other staff would take a look at
Potential consumers will wish to attempt to establish how a lot of Provorov’s struggles stem from himself vs. his setting, Lawton stated. Is he nonetheless the participant he was a number of years in the past? Would a change of surroundings get him again on observe?
They may also take a look at his contract, and the reality that he’s locked in for two extra years at $6.75 million. It’s an inexpensive deal, Lawton stated, made extra engaging by the time period remaining. Provorov would not be a rental, and, at 25, he is younger sufficient that he nonetheless might need some upside.
He doubtless would have worth for a contender seeking to bolster his high 4 as a result of whereas he isn’t a real No. 1 defenseman, he is undoubtedly a strong top-four blueliner. On a deeper staff, it is not loopy to check Provorov flourishing on a second pair in a task the place he not must be “the man.”
While Arizona’s Jakob Chychrun is the high defenseman anticipated to be out there at the trade deadline — at a steep worth — issues get much more muddled after him. Provorov doubtless would match into that subsequent tier which incorporates Mattias Ekholm, Cam Fowler, Brandon Montour, and leases like John Klingberg and Shayne Gostisbehere.
“The worth shouldn’t be common throughout the league for him,” Lawton stated. “The worth is completely different for each staff. … You [the Flyers] are trying for that one staff that wants him to push their membership over the high.”
What a possible trade would possibly seem like
A current trade that instantly involves Lawton’s thoughts when evaluating a possible Provorov deal is the Hampus Lindholm trade from final season.
Anaheim’s determination to ship Lindholm, 28, to the Boston Bruins serves for example of what the Flyers may count on and a cautionary story. The Ducks traded Lindholm in change for younger defenseman Urho Vaakanainen, John Moore’s contract, a 2022 first-round choose, and second-round picks in 2023 and 2024.
It was a giant haul and it is nonetheless too early to inform how the picks will assist the Ducks, however it’s clear the Bruins gained in the brief time period. Lindholm, who had 22 factors at the time of the trade final season, already has 28 factors this yr and is on tempo to shatter his profession excessive of 34. He has emerged as a legit Norris Trophy candidate and has been praised for his defending and puck-moving means in Boston.
The Flyers should watch out that what they get again is nice sufficient to offset the chance that Provorov thrives with one other group, Lawton stated.
Evaluating each the market and the variations between Lindholm and Provorov, Lawton stated the Flyers should not trade Provorov for lower than a first-round choose. In addition to that, he stated they need to obtain two extra items that they really feel nice about earlier than they determine to half methods with Provorov.
The Flyers definitely needn’t trade Provorov earlier than the March 3 deadline, however they need to not less than be listening to gives for the defenseman, particularly given the staff’s must accumulate property for the future.