It’s safe to say that general managers aren’t hesitating to lock up their top defensemen. Most recently we’ve witnessed John Carlson snatch an eight-year, 64 million dollar contract. Oliver Ekman-Larsson, Brent Burns and Marc-Edouard Vlasic also received significant pay bumps and future UFA’s Erik Karlsson and Drew Doughty openly stated they were out to get paid.
So, with all this money being spent on defense, where does that leave Ivan Provorov after the final season of his ELC is up?
Locking up Young Talent
There is no more secret, GM’s do not want to mess around with their young players anymore. More and more we are seeing players come out of their entry-level deals to sign long-term contracts, for example, Aaron Ekblad, Nathan MacKinnon, Sean Monahan, Seth Jones and many more. For anyone who has watched Provorov in his first two seasons as an NHLer, they know this will be the same case. He’s going to get paid and rightfully so.
Since Provorov stepped out on a fresh sheet of ice back in October of 2016, he almost instantly became their number one defenseman. He had some growing pains and the typical rookie mistakes but got better every game, which is why his average time on ice increased by nearly 3 minutes after only 25 games. He’s already become a cornerstone of the Flyers defense and if it weren’t for him, the Flyers defensive corps would be struggling mightily.
What Should Provorov Get?
If we’re looking for a reasonable comparison in terms of length and AAV, look no further than Aaron Ekblad of the Florida Panthers. When putting their rookie and sophomore seasons side by side, Provorov has the slight edge, notching more points despite not having first power play unit time, more average time on ice, hits, blocks and defensive zone starts.
Ivan Provorov demonstrates how to play defense on Sidney Crosby pic.twitter.com/qQDoVUE4d7
— Flyers Nation (@FlyersNation) April 22, 2018
This isn’t to say Ekblad isn’t good, he is a phenomenal defender. But if those numbers + the final year of his entry-level deal were good enough to score him an 8-year, 60 million dollar contract (7.5M AAV), then you can be almost certain that Provorov will get something identical, if not more with the way the salary cap is increasing.
Slowly but surely, Provorov is creeping up into everyone’s radars, the young Russian is incredibly skilled at both ends of the ice and scored 17 goals last season. He’s only 21 years old. He’s carried the defense night in and night out for the Flyers and he’s getting a lot more recognition from analysts around the league.
The bargain contract of Shayne Gostisbehere (6 years at a 4.5M AAV) should allow Hextall to maneuver and dish out money to Provorov and fellow first-round draft pick Travis Konecny, who will also need a new contract.
Provorov is entering his third year as a full-time NHLer and should continue to build on the very solid foundation of his young career, time will tell us what kind of money he will get, but one thing is guaranteed: He’s worth every dime.