Rambler's Top100

Philadelphia Flyers: Whats wrong with Ivan Provorov this season?
17 2018 . https://broadstreetbuzz.com

The Philadelphia Flyers top defenseman is pointless through six games to start the season.
After netting 41 points in 82 games last season, Ivan Provorov has struggled to find his first point for the Philadelphia Flyers on the new campaign. Its very early in the year with the team having played in just their sixth game Tuesday night, but still a little worrying that Provorov hasnt looked like himself completely.

Defensively, he was tied eighth in the NHL in Defensive Point Shares (DPS) last season with 5.2 but has a -0.2 rating to start the year. He also led the team in Goals Against in all situations last game vs the Florida Panthers with four total. A reason as to why Provorovs defensive numbers have been down is because the Flyers team defense hasnt been good as a whole.

The Flyers have the second highest Goals Against (GA) total in the league with 25, trailing the Detroit Red Wings by five goals. Theyre fifth highest in Even-Strength Goals Against (ESGA) with 16 and again second in power-play Goals Against with seven. You could look at these numbers and think goaltending is to blame by not making the necessary saves, but the Flyers have left their net-minders on an island defensively.

As a team, the Flyers lead the league in High Danger Chances Against (HDCA) in all situations at 90 while also allowing the most High Danger Goals Against (HDGA) at 17, tying with the San Jose Sharks. That puts their High Danger Save percentage (HDSV%) at 76.71%, ranking eighth worst in the NHL.  The HDSV% would be much worse if goaltending were really to blame, especially given how many HDCA the Flyers defense has allowed, and the team cant keep expecting whoever is in-net to bail them out. Provorov is the leader of the defense and should step up his play to help the struggling unit, but a player can only do so much. Eventually, Head coach Dave Hakstols defensive tactics have to be put into question if the poor performances continue.

On the offensive side, it seems Provorov just isnt looking to score. He has just five total shots-on-goal this season, which is less than one shot-on-goal per game. Provorov has only been on the ice for three of the Flyers 22 Goals-For this season, as well. Being just a season removed from leading all NHL defensemen in goals, its a little strange to see him not shoot the puck more.

His possession metrics at even-strength are also down this season, too. Provorov has a 46.7 Corsi-For percentage (CF%) at even-strength on the year compared to his career average of 49.3%. The same can be said for his Fenwick rating, as he has a 48.4 Fenwick-For percentage (FF%) compared to the 50.1% for his career. Provorov never really possessed the puck entirely well in his career, but these lowered numbers are still a cause for concern.

I dont have a sure fire answer as to why Provorov hasnt performed like himself, but do have an idea as to what is contributing to it and that being the Provorov/Shayne Gostisbehere defensive combination.

Both Provorov and Gostisbehere have bad possession metrics this year at even-strength. Ive already mentioned Provorovs numbers, but Gostisbeheres are much worse. His CF% at even strength is a mere 43.7% and his FF% isnt much higher at 44.6%. As a pairing, Provorov and Gostisbehere have the fourth worst CF% at even strength among other defensive pairs with at least 50 minutes of time-on-ice (TOI), per Corsica.com.  The duo is also one of just eight pairings who have registered zero Goals For (GF) together with at least 50 minutes of TOI at even-strength. Those numbers are not acceptable, especially for a top pair. This team cant be successful if their top defensive unit is constantly stuck in their own zone.

If the pair continues to struggle, I personally would like to see Radko Gudas eventually put with Provorov. Gudas has been very good to start the season, and arguably has been the Flyers best overall defensemen on the team so far. He possesses a right-handed shot that slots in perfectly next to the lefty-shooting Provorov and would allow Ivan to jump up in offensive plays more given his stay-at-home style of defending.

What ever the cause may be, the Flyers need Provorov to turn his game around fast. He leads the team in average ice-time among skaters with just over 25 minutes a night, and obviously plays a huge part on this Flyers team. Players in any sport struggle to begin a season all the time. Hopefully, this is a case of the early-season blues for Provorov and not something bigger.

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