Going End to End today are NBC Sports Philadelphia's Jordan Hall and Brooke Destra.
The topic: Predictions for restricted free agent defenseman Ivan Provorov's contract.
It makes sense if Provorov's camp is looking for a longer-term deal.
Provorov has been utilized like a No. 1 defenseman and performed like one in 2017-18, at the age of 21. Over the past two seasons, he hasn't missed a game and has played 24:38 a night, the 11th-most minutes among all NHL blueliners.
A bridge contract can be risky. Provorov could turn into a bargain on such a deal and his camp probably feels the 22-year-old has warranted a better, more secure contract at this point.
On July 12, Flyers general manager Chuck Fletcher said, "Until the market settles out a bit, it may be difficult to move forward on Provorov."
Jacob Trouba, one of the biggest RFA blueliners, recently signed a seven-year, $56 million deal with the Rangers, giving him an average annual value of $8 million. Other notable RFA defensemen Zach Werenski and Charlie McAvoy could impact the Provorov timetable and deal.
Not sure Provorov gets in the $8 million range. Trouba was a bit of a different case. He's 25 years old, fresh off a career 50-point season and was just acquired by the Rangers. Provorov is 22 and coming off a down year following a breakout 2017-18. There's a little more unknown there.
My best guess for Provorov is a five-year deal with an AAV in the $6 million range, which would make him the highest-paid Flyers defenseman. It would also allow him to still have a payday at 27 years old if he produces, as expected.
Provorov has the potential to be a franchise-changing player once he hits the peak of his career, but his ceiling is still a ways away — and that should be a good thing for the Flyers and an even better thing for the 22-year-old defenseman and his camp.
On the surface, a long-term deal seems like the best-case scenario. Locking up a key player of the young and developing core would be a no-brainer if the two sides could come to an agreement with contract terms, but one thought lingers in the back of my mind that might alter this — his performance last season.
I do not believe that 2018-19 was any indication of the player Provorov is going to be in the future. His level of maturity, willingness to grow and dedication are only a few of the things that give him the kind of potential only some players can reach, especially at such a young age.
However, Provorov and his camp might be able to use this recent season to their advantage by negotiating a bridge deal rather than going long term right out of the gate. A three-year contract with an average annual value of $5 million could be the perfect segway into a longer-term deal.
Not only would Provorov be able to prove himself as an up-and-coming leader for the team in addition to steadying the blue line, he would also be working toward earning himself a longer-term contract with a much higher value at only 25 years old.
This would also benefit the Flyers as they would be able to see just how much he will be worth when he hits his prime. With the defenseman openly expressing how much he loves the people and organization in Philadelphia back in April during his exit interview, working on a longer-term deal following this one could be a win-win on both sides.
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