2015 NHL Draft Profile #7: Ivan Provorov

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TopShelfProspectsIvan Provorov is one of the quickest and highest rising draft prospects this season.  He’s gone from being a consideration for a second round pick, to challenging Noah Hanifin and Zach Werenski to be the first defenceman drafted.  The gap between the three is not that large at all, and it comes down to preferences.  Even though Provorov has played in North America for several years (since the age of 14), he may face the Russian/KHL factor that we saw do a number on the draft rankings of Valeri Nichushkin, Nikita Scherbak, Nikolai Goldobin, and Ivan Barbashev over the last two years.  Add to that the fact that he is not quite as big as the first two defenders and this is why I have put him third on my board.

Provorov spent last season with Cedar Rapids in the USHL.  In his rookie season with the Brandon Wheat Kings in the WHL he put up 15 goals and 61 points in 60 games. He also played for Team Russia at the World Junior Championships, coming home with a silver medal in the process. He is eligible to play at this spring’s IIHF Under 18 World Championships.

Ivan Provorov

Defense — shoots Left
Born Jan 13 1997 — Yaroslavl, Russia
Height 6.00 — Weight 200 [183 cm/91 kg]

Ivan Provorov is a very good skater. He has good speed and acceleration in both directions. He combines this with his solid stickhandling to both lead and join the rush.  With that speed he can sometimes recover defensively even when he makes a mistake. However, Provorov will need to learn to pick his spots better, as it sometimes seems he tries to go end-to-end every time he touches the puck, or join the rush.  He will need to learn to pick his spots better as he will not be able to get away with this at the NHL level.  Provorov also has very good edgework and pivots, which allows him to cover a lot of ice.  His balance and power is decent which helps him to win board battles or establish position on forwards in front of the net.

Ivan Provorov is a very good stickhandler who protects the puck extremely well.  He has the poise to control the puck at the blue line, and be the powerplay quarterback.  He has good passing skills and vision, as he can make crisp tape-to-tape passes. Provorov has both a very good wrist shot, with a quick release as well as a strong slap shot from the point. Provorov is extremely good at moving laterally to open up passing and shooting lanes. He is a smart player who seems to always make a good play with the puck on his stick. In his own zone, he is extremely adapt at avoiding forecheckers and makes a great first pass.

Provorov shows outstanding defensive skill as well, and if you take away the times he gets caught up the ice, has the potential to be 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 and in winning battles along the boards, though he can continue to work on adding muscle to his frame. While he isn’t one to throw big hits, he isn’t afraid of the physical play and board battles, and he will take a hit to make a play when necessary.

In terms of ceiling, Ivan Provorov has the potential to be a top pairing defender in the NHL, but still has some things to work on before he gets there. He doesn’t seem as NHL ready as Noah Hanifin, and will likely need another year in junior, but the ultimate ceiling may be just as high. Provorov’s style is reminiscent of Drew Doughty, however this is not a talent comparison, but merely a stylistic one.

Here are some videos of Provorov in action.

Check back tomorrow for the number 8 player on my draft board.

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