Heading into last season, Flyers defenseman Ivan Provorov appeared to be well on his way to stardom and a second contract that would put him in that higher echelon for blueliners. However, things didn’t go exactly as planned and all of a sudden, he remains unsigned with the start of training camp just days away and a lot of confusion over what his next deal could look like. Let’s take a look at some of the possibilities.
In 2017-18, Provorov picked up 17 goals and 41 points. Despite logging an extra minute per night on average, his output dropped to just seven goals and 26 points last year. Generally, players with that type of output aren’t candidates for big money, long-term contracts but a player with a stat line like his sophomore season are options for one.
Accordingly, potential contract values are all over the board. Understandably, Provorov’s camp will be pointing to his 2017-18 numbers as a sign of things to come and that his dip was just a blip on the radar and not a sign of things to come. On the flip side, management will be trying to use last season as the basis for comparison. They’ve also indicated that they’d like to see other RFAs sign (players like Zach Werenski and Charlie McAvoy come to mind) before committing to a deal. While everyone waits each other out, here are some of the possible comparables in play.
2018-19: 82 GP, 7-19-26, -16, 32 PIMS, 145 shots, 25:07 ATOI
Career: 246 GP, 30-67-97, -6, 86 PIMS, 509 shots, 23:45 ATOI
Rasmus Ristolainen (Buffalo) – Like Provorov, Ristolainen has been viewed as a top defender for the Sabres but one that has some warts as well. His rookie season was only a partial one like Provorov though so on a long-term deal, Provorov should be expecting more than this.
Platform Year Stats: 82 GP, 9-32-41, -21, 33 PIMS, 202 shots, 25:17 ATOI
Career Stats at ELC Expiration: 194 GP, 19-46-65, -68, 65 PIMS, 375 shots, 22:19 ATOI
Contract: Six years, $32.4MM
Cap Hit Percentage: 7.40%
Current Equivalent: Six years, $36.816MM ($6.03MM AAV)
Dougie Hamilton (Carolina) – Hamilton was a little more consistent offensively than Provorov but the top years offensively were similar. On the flip side, Provorov has handled a much tougher workload through the first three seasons of his career so he should be shooting a little higher than this equivalent as well.
Platform Year Stats: 72 GP, 10-32-42, -3, 41 PIMS, 188 shots, 21:20 ATOI
Career Stats at ELC Expiration: 178 GP, 22-61-83, +23, 95 PIMS, 385 shots, 19:32 ATOI
Contract: Six years, $34.5MM
Cap Hit Percentage: 8.05%
Current Equivalent: Six years, $39.365MM ($6.56MM AAV)
Aaron Ekblad (Florida) – This is the contract that Provorov’s side is almost assuredly bringing up. This set the market for post-ELC defenders though it’s worth noting it was only signed after his second season (and his third year didn’t go so well). Provorov is the better offensive threat of the two as well.
Platform Year Stats: 68 GP, 10-11-21, -23, 58 PIMS, 225 shots, 21:28 ATOI (last year of ELC)
Career Stats at ELC Expiration: 227 GP, 37-59-96, +7, 131 PIMS, 577 shots, 21:40 ATOI
Contract: Eight years, $60MM
Cap Hit Percentage: 10.27%
Current Equivalent: Eight years, $66.96MM ($8.37MM AAV)
In terms of a recent bridge contract to compare, there aren’t really any good options out there. Most quality post-ELC players have signed deals of six years or longer. Those that have had bridge deals (such as Jacob Trouba, Josh Morrissey, or even teammate Travis Sanheim) are all in the roughly 4% range which equates to roughly $3.25MM to $3.5MM. That’s not going to get it done either. Let’s look in between those two terms then.
Colton Parayko (St. Louis) – This isn’t a perfect one considering Parayko’s entry-level pact was only two years but there isn’t a large list to draw from. He had a bit more of an offensive impact that Provorov but as is the case with everyone else on this list, Provorov was logging heavier minutes.
Platform Year Stats: 81 GP, 4-31-35, +7, 32 PIMS, 188 shots, 21:12 ATOI
Career Stats at ELC Expiration: 160 GP, 13-55-68, +35, 61 PIMS, 353 shots, 20:18 ATOI
Contract: Five years, $27.5MM
Cap Hit Percentage: 7.33%
Current Equivalent: Five years, $29.87MM ($5.97MM AAV)
Earlier this summer, I thought Provorov was heading for a bridge deal simply because of the large variation between his last two seasons. However, I’m not as confident in that idea now just because of the largely uncharted waters they would be entering. Provorov’s camp is going to want Ekblad money but GM Chuck Fletcher isn’t going to give that out. Going with a Parayko-type deal could happen but that would only buy out one year of UFA eligibility. It’s hard to see Fletcher wanting that either. As a result, a six or seven-year contract could be where this ultimately winds up. He should slot in a little higher than Hamilton which would put an AAV around $6.75MM on a six-year pact and a little higher than that on a seven-year one because of the extra UFA year. Fortunately for Fletcher and the Flyers, they have ample cap space to get a contract done, no matter how long or how much it will cost.
Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.