It’s official in Philadelphia: GM Ron Hextall has confirmed that preseason stars Travis Konecny and Ivan Provorov have officially made the Flyers roster. The pair were both drafted in the first round in 2015 and are considered to be Philly’s finest prospects, but they’ll become more than prospects in 2016-17, as they’re set to be difference makers on this team. With the roster deadline coming tomorrow, Konecny and Provorov had done enough to solidify their spots over other veteran players and will now have a chance to show what they can do at the NHL level.
While it’s possible for either to be sent back to juniors, after ten games a year will be accounted for on their entry-level contracts. Usually players in this situation are either sent back after this ten-game “tryout” or do enough to stick for the whole season. When asked about this scenario, Hextall answered that he believes that both have “earned it” and should remain on the roster for the entire season. It seems as though the excitement that management and fans alike felt about Konecny and Provorov has translated into a faith in their ability to be impact rookies throughout 2016-17.
Konecny, Philadephia’s 24th overall pick in 2015, is coming off a 56-point stint with the OHL’s Sarnia Sting and a strong performance with Team Canada in the World Junior Championships. He kept his roll going in training camp and preseason, where the flashes of his talent and ability were hard to miss. Konecny is expected to start the season on the Flyers’ second line with Sean Couturier and Jakub Voracek, and has the potential to put up big points right away in his rookie season.
Provorov, at just 19 years old, plays with vision and awareness that is hard to find in a defenseman his age. The 7th overall pick in 2015, Provorov went on to score 73 points for the WHL’s Brandon Wheat Kings and led them on a deep playoff run. While he has the makings of a top-pair NHL defenseman, Provorov will not be asked to do too much in his rookie year, with 2016 rookie sensation Shayne Gostisbehere and the very capable Michael Del Zotto in the fold, but that won’t stop the Russian blue liner from making a name for himself eary in Philadelphia. He is expected to play alongside veteran role model Mark Streit in what could end up being the Flyer’s top pair by year’s end.