With Scott Laughton now re-signed, the Flyers can turn their focus towards re-signing their two key restricted free agents coming off of their entry-level deals in defenseman Ivan Provorov and winger Travis Konecny. When asked by NHL.com’s Adam Kimelman to characterize the discussions for Provorov, GM Chuck Fletcher suggested that it could take a little while for a deal to get done:
“I wouldn’t know how to characterize it; certainly amicable. Everything’s cordial and amicable, but I think until the market settles out a bit it may be difficult to move forward on Provorov.”
There are several other notable blueliners looking for new deals this summer including Charlie McAvoy (Bruins), Zach Werenski (Blue Jackets), and Jacob Trouba (Rangers) and those are likely some of the players that Fletcher is hoping to see sign new deals before proceeding with Provorov. Of that group, only Trouba’s is likely to be dealt with in the near future as his arbitration hearing is set for July 25th so a deal will be finalized one way or the other by the end of the month.
Provorov’s case is a bit of a tricky one. The 22-year-old had a breakout 2017-18 season that saw him collect 17 goals and 24 assists and it looked as if he was quickly establishing himself as an upcoming star. However, despite an uptick in ice time to over 25 minutes a night, his production took a sizable step back as he dipped to a career-low 26 points.
As a result, it’s far from a guarantee that a long-term deal is worked out. If Provorov and his camp believe that this was just a one-year dip, they’d be wise to push for a short-term bridge deal. Meanwhile, Fletcher and the Flyers would certainly love to get Provorov locked up long-term. Regardless of what happens with the rest of the RFA defence market, this is a case that could take a while to reach an agreement on.