Brandon Wheat Kings defenseman Ivan Provorov has been on recent high with his play, and in the draft rankings. He is eligible for the 2015 NHL Draft and will likely be taken in the first round. When? That is the question that many are trying to predict.
One thing is for sure, Ivan Provorov is the best rookie defenseman in the WHL. Provorov leads rookie defensemen in scoring and is 2nd when it comes to all defensemen in the league. He is 51 points through 48 games, including 12 goals. He trails Detroit Red Wings prospect, and Victoria Royals defenseman, Joe Hicketts who has 55 points in the same amount of games. So it is hard to argue that Provorov isn’t the best rookie defenseman in the league.
But is Provorov the best defenseman in the draft? TSN’s Craig Button thinks so. Button mentions how Provorov is the most complete defenseman in the draft. While that may be debatable, Button points out his comprehension of the game which higher than most. Provorov has the brains to be the first defenseman selected but does he have the skill over others like a Hanifin, Werenski, or Kylington? His 2.75 points per 60 minutes show that he might be.
Provorov leads the Brandon Wheat Kings’ defensemen in points and behind him is fellow 2015 NHL Draft prospect Ryan Pilon. Pilon isn’t as offensively strong as Provorov is but yet he is still putting up strong numbers. Pilon is better suited for two-way play than an offensive defenseman’s game, but his 10 goals and 37 assists say that he can provide a threat on the point for the Wheat Kings.
Ryan Pilon #6 of Team Orr skates during the 2015 BMO CHL/NHL Top Prospects Game against Team Cherry at the Meridian Centre on January 22, 2015 in St Catharines, Ontario, Canada.
(January 21, 2015 – Source: Getty Images North America)
So what does Ivan Provorov’s sudden rise to power mean for Ryan Pilon? Well, to shorten it down, it can mean two things, Ryan Pilon will rise in draft rankings, or he will fall.
Provorov has been drawing a lot of attention from scouts and many others as of late. This draws attention to the Brandon Wheat Kings, and not just Ivan Provorov. Provorov uses his teammates very well in order to build success for himself and success for others. Ryan Pilon and Ivan Provorov are the leading power play defenseman for the Brandon Wheat Kings this year and they have done wonders. The Wheat Kings have a 25% power play effectiveness (66 for 258). Ivan Provorov and Ryan Pilon both are in the top 20 for powerplay assists as well.
So when a team is evaluating Ivan Provorov, it may be possible for them to find a pleasant surprise next to him on the power play. Pilon will be getting closely looked at when teams are focused on Provorov. That is just the type of player that Pilon needs to be in order to rise on draft boards. He needs to make you focus on him.
The extra scouts in the stands may be all swell, but some teams get stupid at certain times. At the trade deadline GMs sometimes give up too much or don’t receive enough for a player. At the draft, GMs, in this situation, may think a prospect is going to drop to his team’s choice, but is then picked up by another team before his pick.
This is the scenario, I believe, Ryan Pilon will most likely end up in. If Provorov goes where Craig Button has projected him to go, 5th overall, then other defensive prospects like Noah Hanifin, Zach Werenski, and Oliver Kylington drop a few spots. That causes a ripple effect and defensemen in the draft that are just ranked above Ryan Pilon like Jeremy Roy, Jakub Zboril, and Mitchell Vande Sompel drop a couple of spots. Suddenly, Ryan Pilon goes from a high second round draft pick to a high third round steal.
It all comes down to how teams react to a decision on draft day. It may even go in Pilon’s favor and a team may pick him up earlier than expected.