The Flyers hit the jackpot early on during the 2015 Draft. They drafted future stars in Ivan Provorov and Travis Konecny.
It was a struggle of a season in 2014-15. For the second time in three years, the Flyers failed to qualify for the playoffs. They finished sixth in the division and 12th in the conference. An abysmal road record was part of their undoing. They won just 10 games away from the Wells Fargo Center.
Their 84 points put them 14 points out of the playoff picture. To help stock up for the draft, the Flyers made a few key trades during the season. Kimmo Timonen was sent to the Chicago Blackhawks at the end of February. In return, the Flyers received a second-round pick in 2015 and a conditional fourth-round pick in 2016. That pick ended up turning into a second-round pick due to the Hawks’ performance in the playoffs.
Just a few days later, the team sent Braydon Coburn to the Tampa Bay Lightning. They received Radko Gudas, a conditional first-round pick and a third-round pick in 2015. Had the conditions been met, the Flyers would’ve instead received the Rangers first-round pick. That wouldn’t end up happening.
The Flyers held a total of nine picks in the draft, the most they had since drafting 10 players in 2006. With a need for forwards and goaltenders, the team was able to do just that during this draft. They were also able to grab arguably the best defenseman available.
With the seventh overall pick, the Flyers did not waste it as they drafted Ivan Provorov. He was already projected to turn into a top-pair player at the time. While the team was stocked on defense, they didn’t take a chance on missing Provorov.
He came over to North America at an early age, playing with the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins at 14 years of age. There, he recorded 28 goals and 61 points in 27 games. He would move on to the squads 16U Midget team, posting a massive 42 goals and 97 points. His scoring didn’t stop as he ended up with the Brandon Wheat Kings of the WHL.
During his rookie season, he was the team’s top defensemen. Provorov collected 15 goals and 61 points in 60 games. He also grabbed 13 points in 19 playoff games. He finished with the most assists and points by a WHL rookie. Provorov would also win a silver medal with the Russian U20 WJC squad.
The accolades didn’t stop for Provorov in the WHL. The following season, 2015-16, he collected the most points by a defenseman and won the league’s Bill Hunter Trophy for the top defenseman in the WHL. He would once again win another silver medal at the WJC.
All together, Provorov posted 36 goals and 134 points in 122 games. That put him at a 1.10 points-per-game pace. After two seasons in the WHL, he was ready to make his debut in the NHL. And he has not missed a game since. Since debuting in 2016-17, Provorov has played in 233 straight games.
A player not fazed by much, he scored the most goals by a defenseman during his second season. His 17 goals that year and 41 points are both career-highs. He struggled mightily last year, putting small doubts in a few fans’ minds. The Flyers weren’t worried as they signed him to a long-term contract this past offseason.
He was back on track as the Flyers’ top defenseman this season as the addition of Matt Niskanen certainly helped him out. He was on pace to earn a new career-high in points as he sat at 36 after 69 games.