What was supposed to be a strength for the Philadelphia Flyers became a weakness, and still is to this day. The Flyers drafted Ivan Provorov seventh overall in 2015, and Provorov became the third left-shot Flyers defenseman to be drafted in the first round in as many years, succeeding Sam Morin (2013) and Travis Sanheim (2014). With Morin injured and in juniors, and Sanheim not becoming a regular until 2018, Provorov was forced to be the Flyers’ number one defenseman since his age 20 season in 2016-17. Provorov was excellent in 2017-18, but proceeded to get worse either offensively, defensively, or both in every season thereafter. Provorov always showed signs of becoming a star, but it never happened because he never had the opportunity to develop. The 2022-23 season was proof enough for Daniel Briere that Provorov could not be the number one guy in Philly anymore, and so he was shipped off to the Columbus Blue Jackets to be their number two behind Zach Werenski.
Speaking of Zach Werenski, the former University of Michigan blueliner was taken directly after Provorov and developed into one of the best two-way defenseman in the NHL, having been named an All-Star in 2018 and 2022. If the Flyers were hellbent on adding yet another defenseman, Werenski was certainly the better choice. If they went in a different direction, Timo Meier and Mikko Rantanen are two world class forwards that were taken after Werenski. For more context, consider that Provorov is one of three players taken in the top-10 of the 2015 NHL Draft that have not been an NHL All-Star yet. The other two are Dylan Strome and Pavel Zacha.
Ivan Provorov can still return to form and become a useful NHLer again; he’s still young at 26, and will be 27 after the new year. He’s got a lot of mileage on his legs already, but a change of scenery with a more talented Blue Jackets team and a reduced role could help Provorov get back to doing what he does best. In Philly, his distractions combined with declining play made him an obvious choice for Daniel Briere to cut bait.