Philly had one rookie defenseman burst onto the scene this year, as Shayne Gostisbehere‘s stellar play earned him a Calder Trophy nomination.
Next year, another freshman blueliner will look to make his own mark.
Ivan Provorov, the club’s first-round pick (seventh overall) at the 2015 draft, says he’s primed to make the Flyers’ roster for 2016-17 — despite the fact he’ll be just 19 years old when the campaign begins.
“I think I’m ready,” he said, per the Inquirer. “But we’ll see what happens. I think I’m going to have another good summer and come ready in September.”
The Flyers have been high on Provorov from the minute they drafted him. He signed his entry-level deal a week after being selected, and impressed onlookers during his time at prospect and training camps.
“He showed us his play is efficient in all areas with and without the puck,” head coach Dave Hakstol said, per CSN Philly. “I thought his competitiveness was very good throughout the two days.
“He was focused and relaxed. He is a composed young man with maturity and confidence. Those are very good traits in a young player.”
This year, Provorov — who’s still playing with Brandon in the WHL playoffs — racked up a whopping 21 goals and 73 points in just 62 games. The potential of adding Provorov’s offensive abilities to a blueline that already features a pretty skilled guy in Gostisbehere is tantalizing.
But, as Flyers GM Ron Hextall points out, Provorov is going to have to beat out an incumbent, and won’t just be gifted a spot on the Philadelphia roster.
“They have to come in and be better than someone else that’s here,” Hextall said of young players looking to crack the lineup. “If that happens, we proved last year that we’ll make room in our roster for a young player that proves to us that he’s ready to play at this level and make our team better.”