In the fall, I asked an NHL scout about the CHL’s western league and was informed it was a ‘down year’ and there might not be a Top 10 overall selection in the WHL. Six months later? Ivan Provorov has changed the landscape.


First, the speed and skill. Ivan Provorov is a tremendous talent with the puck as reflected in the 44 seconds to daylight above. Great skater, outstanding vision and an ability to make people miss: A dynamite combination. Early on, he began to move up the charts:

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Provorov began gaining steam out of the box and his offense by month reflects his quick start and overall dominance:

  • September: 4GP, 1-3-4
  • October: 13GP, 7-8-15
  • November: 11GP, 0-11-11
  • December: 7GP, 2-5-7
  • January: 10GP, 1-11-12
  • February: 6GP, 3-3-6
  • March: 1GP, 0-0-0

    • Cody Nickolet, WHL From Above: Provorov does a bit of everything on the
      ice and does it all well. While not being an extremely explosive player, he
      doesn’t have many weaknesses. He’s smart, he skates well, he moves the puck
      hard and accurately and he can play in any situation you put him in. He also
      has shown an increased edge in his game the last few times I’ve seen him,
      although I don’t project him to ever be a big bruiser on the blueline. Think of
      a guy like Mark Giordano. I think the two play a similar style and offer up
      many of the same attributes. Source

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    I think Noah Hanifin will be the first defenseman off the board but it’s interesting to note that Craig Button—whose list is fascinating if not the industry standard—ranks Provorov as the top defender in the draft. Bob McKenzie’s mid-season list—the Bible of the draft—ranked Provorov as the No. 12 prospect in 2015. 

    Previously in the series:

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      • 719

        No offense, but I always hear about these “trade up” fantasies before drafts and it never never never happens…not to this extent. Two second rounders and a late first rounder aren’t worth a top 10 pick.

    • a lg dubl dubl

      The only player that shouldn’t go back to jr or college is mcdavid. The Oilers need help now, if the opportunity presents itself to trade the 2-5 pick for a top 2 dman I’d hope mact does his job and makes this team better.

      Any pick after mcdavid is 2-3 years away from really helping this team. The oilers need to be better NOW(in oct).

    • YakCity1039

      “…it’s interesting to note that Craig Button—whose list is fascinating if not the industry standard—…” NO. NO IT’S NOT. NOBODY should be following Craig Button’s list. The guys had Matt Dumba 1st overall back in 2011. I don’t think anybody should even look at his list when making draft selections.

      • Keg on Legs

        This is why he is on TV, not a GM anymore, but Provorov is intriguing, and what was the name of the big Russian kid who went undrafted last year, he also looked very impressive.
        Just sayin

    • Provorov will probably be gone by the time the Flames pick (unless we win the lottery of course 😉

      We stole Bennett, who could still end up being the best forward of last year’s draft, at 4th overall after his ranking slid. Could we do the same thing with Oliver Kylington this year?

      • DoubleDIon

        If we’re picking in the 12-16 range (which is a fair assumption) I don’t think we have a shot at Provorov. We do have 3 2nd rounders and 2 3rd’s. I hope we use them to move up in the draft. At this point with our organizational depth we need quality more than quantity.

    • toprightcorner

      Reminds me of a Paul Coffey rush. He is a guy I would really consider at 5-6. The Oilers definitely need an offensive dman that can also play solid defense. He will Be what we all hoped Schultz would be.

    • 719

      Hanafin is MOAR biggar!!

      Seriously though I like Provorov’s game. Would be a solid choice at 6 or 7, don’t think he will go before Hanafin despite what Mr. Button thinks.

    • DoubleDIon

      He’s seriously good. Best whl defenseman I’ve seen since Phaneuf was in red deer. So tough to project blue liners, but in my 5 or 6 viewings the giordano comparison is legitimate.

    • PlayDirty

      Ivan has a lot of fans in Brandon. I just call him a real good solid d-man. Nothing flashy but in my eye he’s solid, a smooth skater that plays smart and handles the puck well. I like how plays the blue line by making himself available and always seems to get a shot on net. That’s my opinion anyway. I think he’s probably at an appropriate position in the rankings. I’m a big fan.

      Unfortunately I think we might have to do better where we’ll be drafting. But I do think he’d be a very valuable part of our team when he’s, say… 27.

      But, you know.

      • PlayDirty

        But I gotta ask because I genuinely don’t know. This guy puts up crazy points. Compared to some of other great defensemen drafted in the past while, he’s actually quite unreal. And by all accounts he’s defensively responsible. And he’s no pushover either. So other than being a bit smaller than the ideal top five draft pick (but definitely not a shrimp) what is really the problem?

        • PlayDirty

          I’d have no problem taking him if we are set on a d-man. When I said “I think we might have to do more”, that was more about taking someone with a little more fanfare to satisfy those that know better.

          I don’t claim to be an expert but I think because he’s a rookie in the dub (I guess that’s common) and playing on a really good team (expected to get even better over the next couple of years) there might be some hesitancy?

          Maybe we could be talking about him like we talk about Nurse/Klefbom in three years? That would be nice, but it’s three more years away.

    • The Soup Fascist


      Do you ever get the impression that Button sometimes throws these “Provorov is better than Hanifin” – type grenades out to get a little press? It seems like every year he goes off the board or way of the board in regards to a specific player or two to be controversial – for the sake of being controversial.

        • The Soup Fascist

          Interesting. Can’t say I have watched an abundance of any of those guys. Hanifin’s skating is often referenced as being superior to his peers.

          But, then again, so was Steve Kelly’s.

          • DoubleDIon

            You can watch NCAA games online now. Joey LaLeggia is a player that’s pretty intriguing for you guys. Especially with the advent of guys like Krug and Barrie finding good success. He plays a very similar game.

    • Now lets look at this logically and based on previous track record. Outside of McEichel. Does it really matter who the Oilers pick? Based on the “Hockey Gods” as our old friend used to refer to and the ineptitude of our management/coaching/scouting/directors/ticket sales reps/goalie coaches/security guys who tell you not to put your beer on the glass during games whoever we pick will be the wrong pick.
      We pick Hanafin and Paravorov will go on to be a player and take his team to the playoffs and play in the olympics while Hanafin eats pizza and loses his foot in a mountain biking accident. Flip it and pick Paravorov or whatever and Hannafin is an all american big mean defencemen and our guy goes back to Russia and drinks vodka.
      No franchise in the history of sports is better at getting it wrong than the Oilers and I dont see that changing at this years draft.

    • flamesfan98

      I’d say we pick defenseman ryan pilon in the second round. He is projected to go second round and also plays for Brandon. He is right behind provorov in points and plus minus. I live in Lethbridge and saw him play when he was still on the hirricanes and just 16 he is something to watch!!

    • I adore Provorov as a prospect. He’s got size, speed, skill and thinks the game really well. He’s also a Russian kid who’s been in North America for several years, speaks the language really well and seems to get along with his teammates well.

    • Rdubb

      First off, If this Provoprov is likened to a player of Giordano’s calibre, would he not be a great pick @ #3 or #4? I know it took Gio approx 6yrs to get to the place he is currently @, but I also think that his improvement accelerated once the Flames traded Iggy, now that could be a coincidence…
      Looking @ Bobby Mac’s draft rankings, I have to ask myself how so many guys can be so high in the draft who aren’t even close to scoring on a point per game average, and then guys who are scoring @ better than a point per game are ranked so low, why is this? Yes, I know team have a lot to do with it, and in which league their playing, but if they’re playing all in the Q or WHL, should the guys who are scoring at better then a point per game be ranked higher then the guys who aren’t, especially if they are both playing C, or the wings?
      Stuff like that has always made me curious, two guys who both play C, one guy scores @ a rate of 1.25 and the other @ .600, yet the guy @ .600 is ranked 20 spots higher…never could figure that one out, guess the scouts haven’t either, especially the Oiler scouts…