Rick Tocchet: Flyers’ Ivan Provorov has ‘functionality to be a top defenseman in this league’

Rick Tocchet was excessive on Ivan Provorov in 2019-20.

He stays very excessive on him now.

In December 2019, as head coach of the Coyotes, Tocchet extolled the maturation of Provorov, who was nonetheless solely 22 years outdated on the time and had already develop into fairly established.

“I believe he is top-of-the-line younger defensemen in the league,” Tocchet stated then.

Over the next two seasons, Provorov has hit some bumps in the highway because the Flyers have hit some main ones. In the final two years, the 25-year-old has had a rotating forged of companions on the Flyers’ top defensive pair. Provorov, who has a machine-like, do-everything mindset, has had to overcompensate for the instability. Undeniably, his play has suffered.

Provorov had a career-worst minus-20 score final season on a group that completed with a minus-87 purpose differential. Over the final two seasons, Provorov has mixed for one energy play purpose. In 2019-20, he led all NHL defensemen in energy play targets with seven.

Tocchet, coming off his first season doing in-studio commentary for NHL on TNT, believes Provorov continues to be a top-pair man that may anchor the Flyers’ again finish.

“Absolutely,” Tocchet stated on this week’s version of NBC Sports Philadelphia’s Flyers Talk podcast. “His arrow has trended down the final 12 months and a half or two for no matter motive; I do not know what is going on on in the dressing room. But he is obtained the ability, he is obtained the hockey IQ, he is confirmed it.

“Like I stated a couple of years in the past, I liked that man. I would not have traded that man for anybody. I believe this man proper now will get a summer time off to refresh, will get a new teaching employees, a new defensive coach. I believe he can simply type of loosen up going into this 12 months and do not put a lot stress on him.”

Provorov will get a likelihood to work with new assistant coaches Brad Shaw (penalty kill/defensemen) and Rocky Thompson (energy play/forwards).

“I’ve watched him stroll the blue line on the facility play and it appeared like from two years in the past, he had a shot mentality,” Tocchet stated. “It looks like he is overpassing; that is simply from my fowl’s-eye view, from being in your guys’ facet, the media facet. So I’d like to see him take extra management of the facility play, be the top man.

“But throughout, his breakouts and issues like that, what I’ve seen, he is obtained the flexibility to be a top defenseman in this league.”

Alongside regular veteran Matt Niskanen in 2019-20, Provorov was a constant and completely happy buyer.

Last season, he nonetheless took on a lot for the Flyers, however his frustration was noticeable. The Flyers went 25-46-11 and Provorov is a aggressive man.

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“Ivan actually is not a polarizing determine inside our group,” Flyers basic supervisor Chuck Fletcher stated at his end-of-the-season press convention in May. “We actually respect and admire what he does. He performs shut to 25 minutes a evening, he goes again for each puck, he is fearless, he blocks each shot, he competes in entrance of the online, he has a huge shot, he strikes the puck.

“At instances he possibly holds on to it a little bit an excessive amount of. I believe as we get him the correct accomplice, like we had in ’19-20 for him, I assumed he was rather more efficient in that regard. He will get each top matchup, he will get each defensive zone faceoff mainly, first PK.

“We ask a lot out of Ivan Provorov and I believe he provides us a lot. As the expertise round him improves, like each participant, he’ll be higher, however he is already a fairly good participant.”

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