Colorado Avalanche #10: D Ivan Provorov (Brandon Wheat Kings – WHL)
Original Pick #10: C/RW Mikko Rantanen (TPS – Liiga)
Picture this as your top defensive pairing: Ivan Provorov and Cale Makar. The Yaroslavl, Russian native has taken his time, but he’s emerged as a true top-pair blue-liner in the NHL for the Philadelphia Flyers.
The Colorado Avalanche would’ve found an elite player at number ten regardless of who was taken beforehand. Though Rantanen isn’t available here in this re-draft, supporting Makar with Provorov is an outstanding move.
Ivan Provorov is the true definition of a two-way defenseman, someone who has the ability to shut down top threats on the rush and force a turnover to go the other way while leading the offensive zone entry. It’s said that the best defensemen are players who started out their careers as forwards so they can bring that skill set to the backend of the play. Provorov uses elite skating and finesse to make a fearsome impact on the offense.
The stout defender played most of his teenage years in North America, starting out with Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Knights before gaining attention from the USHL’s Cedar Rapids RoughRiders, where he would play a lone season in 2013-14 before taking his talents to the WHL with the Brandon Wheat Kings.
In his draft year, Provorov played in 60 games for Brandon putting up 15 goals and 46 assists as a defenseman. Taking an extra year to round out his defensive game, he put on an even bigger show in 2015-16 with the Wheat Kings, scoring 21 goals and adding 52 assists in 62 games.
Provorov is already a stout defenseman and we’re not even seeing him at his best. He’s going to be in the NHL for a long time, and his game is only going to improve.