The Philadelphia Flyers are going to have some tough decisions to make during the 2023 offseason, and none may be bigger than the fate of 26-year-old defenseman Ivan Provorov. While parting ways with Provorov is a risky move, he’s also one of their best trade chips and could provide a return the could spark the next era of Flyers hockey. If his name does indeed hit the trade block over the next few months, which teams are most likely to line up for the services of the Russian defenseman?
Number 5: Edmonton Oilers
The Edmonton Oilers are one of the teams reportedly in on Jakob Chychrun, and basically every other trade rumor these days as they search for a team that can carry them to a Stanley Cup. Provorov would give them a younger defenseman with a little bit of term at a reasonable cap hit, and a more than suitable replacement if they miss out on Chychrun. The Oilers still have all of their first round picks, as well as prospect Dylan Holloway, Philip Broberg and Xavier Bourgault to negotiate with. For Provorov, it may not be the best place to blossom, as they’re a full-offense, no defense kind of team, situations that he’s struggled in during his days in Philly. He’d be a good player on that team, but it may not be the right fit overall.
Number 4: Toronto Maple Leafs
Speaking of desperation, the Maple Leafs must be feeling an exorbitant amount of pressure to make it out of the first round in the 2023 playoffs. Whether or not they achieve that goal, anything short of winning the Stanley Cup will leave the door open for them to make a few big changes during the 2023 offseason and insulating their defense will probably be high on that priority list. Making the cap space work between the two teams is going to be the most difficult part of this deal, but an offseason move when there’s a bit more overall breathing room for both squads could actually work out well for the Flyers.
Number 3: Ottawa Senators
The Senators have also reportedly been in on the Jakob Chychrun rumors, so if they somehow lose out, it’s quite possible they could pursue Provorov as a backup option. It could be an ideal spot for Provorov, who wouldn’t have to be the number one LHD on the roster with Thomas Chabot currently handling that role. They’re a young team with plenty of prospects to spare and seem poised to make a big addition or two to finally push them over their rebuilding hump. A 1-2-3 punch of Chabot, Provorov and Jake Sanderson on the left side is a more than suitable foundation to build a defense on.
Number 2: Detroit Red Wings
Detroit could be an interesting dark horse in the Provorov sweepstakes. They’re a young team on the rise and already have a top righty in Mo Seider, Adding a 26-year-old with the experience of Provorov could go a long way for the Wings to shore up their team in the short term, and either a good player for the long term as well, or a solid trade piece when his contract expires in two years to acquire even more assets or if some of their internal options at LHD hit. The one major con? Does anybody trust Chuck Fletcher to go nose to nose with Steve Yzerman in trade negotiations?
Number 1: LA Kings
The Kings have always felt like the best destination Provorov eventually lands in. LA is a young team on the rise looking for a top left-handed defenseman to play alongside veteran Drew Doughty as well as up-and-comer Jordan Spence. They also happen to be the team with one of the more plentiful prospect pools for the Flyers to feast on. Brandt Clarke, a 19-year-old right-handed defenseman would be high on the wish list for the Flyers, and potentially center Quinton Byfield, the second overall pick in 2020, who has yet to lock down a full-time NHL spot. If the Kings are serious about opening up their new Cup window, parting ways with a big asset or two would pay off for them, and give the Flyers proper value for trading their top defenseman.
The Panthers have struggled getting out of the gate during the 2022-23 campaign thanks to some interesting offseason moves forced by their flirting with the salary cap. They still have top righty Aaron Ekblad, who would make for a very good partner with Provorov, and need to stop the bleeding on the back end if they have any hopes of a rebound in the future. Would they part with one of their top young forwards like Anton Lundell in order to salvage their defense? The Flyers landing s 21-year-old established forward for their top defenseman could be a decent starting point for trade talks.
Whether or not the Flames are in on Provorov is up for debate, but Calgary would provide a very solid scheme for Provorov as a player to fall into. They’re a very sturdy “by committee” unit and Provorov wouldn’t have to be the unquestioned top guy and he’d have a solid parther no matter who they put him with. Do the Flames pay up? Maybe, but they may also deem that there are bigger problems on that roster than the defense, thus taking them out of the running. Time will tell.
By: Dan Esche (@DanTheFlyeraFan)
photo credit: nhl.com