The Blue Jackets Are Betting That Ivan Provorov Plays Like He Did Early in His Career and Not Recently

By Coby Maeir on June 7, 2023 at 1:45 pm
Philadelphia Flyers defenseman Ivan Provorov (9) scores a goal on Chicago Blackhawks goaltender Alex Stalock (32) during overtime at United Center.
David Banks-USA TODAY Sports

In case you missed it, the Blue Jackets acquired defenseman Ivan Provorov from the Flyers Tuesday in exchange for the No. 22 pick in the 2023 NHL Draft and a conditional second-round pick in either 2024 or 2025 in a three-way trade involving the Los Angeles Kings. The Kings are retaining 30% of Provorov's $6.75M annual cap hit, so the Blue Jackets will take on a $4.275M cap hit for the remaining two seasons of Provorov's contract. 

Provorov, 26, has played in 532 of a possible 535 regular season games, missing three due to the COVID-19 protocols. Over his seven-year career, he's posted 65-152--217. However, his play has dipped significantly over the past few seasons.

The Jackets gave up two valuable assets to acquire Provorov, and this kind of move shows they want to make the playoffs this year. In order to do that, Provorov has to play as he did from 2017-18 to 2019-20, and not as he did over the past three seasons. 

Provorov has all the skills and tools needed to be one of the best second-pairing defensemen in the league, and maybe that role will help his defensive play, but one thing is for sure. The Blue Jackets cannot afford for him to be an anchor on defense where he's hemmed in his own zone the whole time.

Time will tell how this trade will work out, but at the very least, the Blue Jackets are going for it.

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