Kris Baker of SabresProspects.com has submitted his annual rankings of the top 30 draft-eligible prospects. Check back each day as we prepare for the 2015 NHL Draft at BB&T Center in Sunrise, Florida on June 26-27.
#9 - IVAN PROVOROV
|(Photo Credit: Getty Images) |
Defenseman, Brandon (WHL)
6’0.25”, 201 lbs.
A rock-solid two-way rearguard, Provorov quickly proved to be a do-it-all force in his first season of WHL hockey as the Wheat Kings marched to an Eastern Conference title. He is hardly a newcomer to North American rinks though, after having moved to the United States in 2011 in hopes of advancing his NHL aspirations.
A product of the USHL’s Cedar Rapids RoughRiders by way of the Wilkes-Barre, Penn. youth system, the well-rounded Russian dazzled fans with highlight reel plays as he racked up 15 goals and 61 points in his rookie season in Brandon. The offensive output, which included five three-point games, was the result of great confidence and vision with the puck.
He can either skate it out of his zone and take it deep or leg it out trouble with a few strides and deliver a sharp outlet pass to a streaking winger.
In addition to providing key offensive plays, he’s an intense defensive competitor. He’s not afraid to sacrifice his body for team. He works to box out traffic in front of his goal. Also impressive is Provorov’s ability to be calm in the face of pressure, smartly opting to go high off the glass as opposed to forcing anything through the middle when being beared down on.
Of course, Provorov isn’t shy about engaging in the physical side of things as well. At the CHL/NHL Top Prospects Game in January, Provorov used his low center of gravity to step into Daniel Sprong with a big, open-ice hit that led to his team scoring the game’s first goal.
Provorov, who finished the showcase with one assist and a plus-3 rating, took the experience back to Brandon, where he ended the regular season with 20 points and a plus-20 rating in his final 20 games. He capped the year with another 13 points (2+11) in 19 playoff outings.
For more on all the youngsters in the Sabres pipeline, check out Kris Baker’s website, SabresProspects.com. You can also follow him on Twitter (@SabresProspects) for in-game updates throughout the week on any Buffalo prospects that are in action.