VOORHEES, N.J. – There are numerous key issues concerning the Flyers as their 2022-23 season approaches, but none more significant than getting franchise defenseman Ivan Provorov back on track.
After putting together perhaps his best season in 2019-20 while playing alongside Matt Niskanen, Provorov’s numbers slipped the last couple years. Offensively, he produced only 16 goals over the past 135 games and defensively there were times when he just looked out of sorts (including a minus-16).
Along the way, his ironman streak of 403 consecutive games came to an end in January due to a case of COVID. He experienced no symptoms but had to miss three games, a development which left him frustrated.
Maybe that’s all behind him now. He’s going to have a new partner, Tony DeAngelo, and if this tandem can develop some chemistry, it might be Provorov-Niskanen 2.0.
“Our first (preseason) game didn’t go as smoothly as we wanted,’’ Provorov said during a press briefing at the Flyers Training Center on Wednesday. “Even if you play well the first couple of preseason games, the (regular) season is a totally different thing.’’
At the start of last season, the Flyers were hoping to pair Provorov with another top talent, Ryan Ellis. But Ellis suffered an injury to his pelvic area which finished him for the season and has kept him out of action so far this campaign.
How long will it take to develop chemistry with DeAngelo.
“Two, three, five games it’s going to take us to get used to each other,’’ Provorov said. “We played on different teams last season, different systems. It’s going to take a little bit of time but it shouldn’t take too long.’’
DeAngelo should add some firepower to the Flyers’ back line.
“Great player, he skates well,’’ Provorov said. “Sees the ice well. His first pass is really, really good. I think overall we’ll be able to close on people quicker, have good sticks, break the puck out of the zone with possession and hopefully that will help our team to move into the offensive zone quicker.’’
A minor lower-body injury limited his preseason action but he says that’s cleared up and no longer an issue. He did take a puck off the cheekbone the other day but that’s all part of playing in the NHL.
It’s not easy for him to dial it back a bit. He spends most of his summer in intense training and things don’t slow down much once the season starts.
“If I’m not (to a meeting) 10 minutes early, I feel like I’m late,’’ he said of his Type-A personality. “To be away for even three or four days has been tough.’’
>Impressed with York
Provorov said he was impressed with Cam York’s training camp but understood why the Flyers sent him to Lehigh Valley for more seasoning on Wednesday.
“I think he had a good summer, I think he grew physically,’’ Provorov said. “He got stronger. Sometimes it’s tough to find your game right away in preseason. Sometimes when you’re a younger guy you only get a few games to show yourself, to establish yourself right away. I think he’ll be fine. I think he will go back, get into a groove and I’m sure he will be up here real soon.’’