Today's profile is on Ivan Provorov, a defenseman with the WHL's Brandon Wheat Kings
Ivan Provorov, Defense, 6'1", 201lbs, Shoots Left
|2013-2014||Cedar Rapids RoughRiders||56||6||13||19||-6||32|
|2014-2015||Brandon Wheat Kings||60||15||46||61||+36||42|
|2014-2015||Brandon Wheat Kings||19||2||11||13||-4||10|
If you were to ask professional hockey scouts about who is the best defenseman available in this year's draft, the majority of them would say Noah Hanifin.
There are some others out there, however, that think that Ivan Provorov is even better.
A smart, skilled, two-way blueliner, Provorov has had anything but a conventional development path so far. Russian born, he moved to the United States in his early teens to pursue his hockey career. He played for Cedar Rapids in the USHL last year, but moved north of the border this season to play for the WHL's Brandon Wheat Kings.
It turned out to be a great decision for his development as he joined a very, very good Wheat Kings roster, one of the best in the WHL. Having a large number of talented scorers surrounding him really allowed Provorov's offensive game to flourish, posting a very solid 61 points in 60 games. Many of those points came on the powerplay, where he was a key component.
Provorov's height is only average for a defensemen, but his frame is already very well filled out and he's strong on his skates, which makes him hard to knock off the puck. His skating is fluid and effortless, and when you combine that with excellent offensive instincts and great puck skills it makes him the exact type of defenseman that thrives in the new, faster NHL.
The only major question mark with Provorov, however, is how much of his success this season is related to his environment. Brandon was loaded with talent and led the WHL in goals by a huge margin, which might have caused his raw stats to be inflated. Likewise, Brandon also had a deep group of veterans of the back end, which allowed them to shelter Provorov in the offensive zone. Can he handle being relied on heavily as "the guy" for a team?
That being said, if Provorov reaches his full potential he could become an NHLer in the mold of Duncan Keith, which is more than enough to warrant the use of a high draft pick.
Would Provorov be a good fit for the Dallas Stars specifically, though? That's a tougher question. The Stars have plenty of great defense prospects, including last year's 1st rounder, Julius Honka. However, there's no question that Provorov would be the best player available if he somehow dropped all the way down to the 12th slot, which might make him too tempting for Jim Nill to pass up.
A strong transitional blueliner…a smooth skater that keeps up with quicker opponents and can create some separation with a decent first step…very patient and poised with the puck…moves the puck in a way that will translate well at the next level… always makes forward progress when he is on the ice…shows good patience and purpose in his decisions…strong in the corners…hockey sense elevates the effectiveness of all his other abilities…a distributor of the puck that can head up a power play with great vision…steady and reliable at both ends.
The young Russian defenceman is rising quickly up draft boards, after a solid display at the World Juniors, and excellent play in his rookie season in the WHL. He spent last year with Cedar Rapids in the USHL. Provorov has really taken off in the last couple of months, and now has 12 goals and 51 points in 47 games for the Wheat Kings. He is a very good skater and stickhandler who isn’t afraid to lead the rush. When he does go up ice, he has the speed to get back to the defensive end and cover up as well. Has both a very good wrist shot and a slap shot from the point. Provorov can play the role of powerplay quarterback and is extremely good at moving laterally to open up passing and shooting lanes. When there is a lane he makes crisp tape to tape passes. Provorov shows outstanding defensive skill as well, and is a really good two-way defenceman. He is strong positionally, and reads the play very well. He understands how to use his stick to cut down passing lanes and his body to block shots. He is also showing improved strength and clearing the front of the net extremely well.