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June 06, 2023

Flyers trade Ivan Provorov to Blue Jackets as part of three-team deal

The Flyers will be getting the 22nd overall pick, a couple of seconds, and several players from the L.A. Kings as their return in the three-team deal.

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34_Ivan_Provorov_FlyersvsKnights_KateFrese.jpg Kate Frese/For PhillyVoice

Ivan Provorov's run in Philadelphia appears to be over.

After more than a year of rumors and speculation, Ivan Provrov's time in Philadelphia is finally up, and he may not be the only major piece on the move either as the NHL Draft quickly approaches. 

The Flyers confirmed Tuesday afternoon that they have traded Provorov, who was once expected to be their cornerstone defenseman, to the Columbus Blue Jackets in a three-team deal that also involves the Los Angeles Kings. 

Coming back to the Flyers from L.A. will be defenseman Sean Walker, goaltender Cal Petersen, 2020 second-round pick Helge Grans (also a defenseman), a 2024 second-round pick, and from Columbus, the 22nd overall draft pick later this month and another conditional second in 2024. 

The Kings will also be retaining 30 percent of the salary on the remaining two years of Provorov's contract and received Hayden Hodgson and Kevin Connaughton from the Flyers as well. 

The Fourth Period's David Pagnotta and Anthony Di Marco, along with Sportsnet's Elliotte Friedman, were first to report the initial details of the trade. 

And what's immediately notable from this move in regards to another domino that could fall is that the Flyers have a goalie coming back, which could be part of the set-up for a Carter Hart trade that The Fourth Period is also reporting to be in the works, though that one doesn't appear to be imminent

"I'm still in the same spot I was," general manager Danny Brière said Tuesday evening of Hart's current standing with the team. "We're open for business, we listen on everybody, everybody's being treated the same way for us on our side."

As for the deal that did get done, for the Flyers, Tuesday's trade is a booming start to the summer and their commitment to a rebuild as they'll now have two first-round selections – No. 7 and No. 22 – in what has long been expected to be a deep NHL Draft down in Nashville at the end of this month. 

They also gained back a couple of future second-round picks to work with after former GM Chuck Fletcher exhausted all of them over the past couple of years in multiple desperate (and expensive) attempts to try and keep an underachieving and banged-up roster competitive. 

"That was the key part of the deal, " Brière said of gaining an additional first. "We have the chance to get a really good player when you're drafting in the top 10 this year, in this crop, but it's a deep draft and we felt we wanted to acquire another pick in the first two rounds from not having a second-rounder this year.  

"So having the chance to get No. 22 was critical to the deal for us."

For Provrov, this is the end of a seven-year run in Philadelphia that began with so much promise as the No. 7 overall pick in 2015, looked like it was going to reach it for a while, but then just completely stalled out for a myriad of reasons – both on the Flyers and himself – coming out of the 2020 playoff bubble. 

After Matt Niskanen suddenly retired, the Flyers were never able to find him a consistent defensive partner, and even though he routinely ate up top-pairing minutes, his play declined and his decision-making with the puck got sloppier.  

Starting around the trade deadline of the 2021-22 season, once the Flyers had completely bottomed out, rumors began popping up over whether it was time for Provorov to have a change of scenery, and that line of thought only grew stronger as this past season wore on and it became clear that the Flyers needed to start anew. 

Still just 26 years old, he was carrying a rather steep cap hit at $6.75 million for another two years, but still has the talent and potential to justify another team paying that price. And Columbus, who was in need of a blueliner, had the means to take that waiver – with help from L.A.

"The last couple of weeks I've had a few different discussions on Ivan," Brière said. "There were other teams involved, but it really seemed the best fit was with Columbus and the interest was really high on Columbus' side, so we started focusing on that a little bit more in the last couple of days." 

Finally, for Brière, this was his first major move as the GM and it set the tone for how he's going to run the ship from here on out. 

The Blue Jackets needed a defenseman, the Kings needed to free up money to sign one of their defensemen, and both had draft capital and assets they were willing to part with to make it work, which is what the Flyers are after. 

Brière recognized that, stepped in, and helped reach a deal that benefitted all three, even if it cost the Flyers a longtime face and someone generally considered by the rest of the league to still be a potentially great player.

They're after better later down the line. 

"Sometimes you have to pay the price to get good assets back as well," Brière said. "We're not denying the fact that Ivan is a good defender. He's put in heavy minutes for us and it's going to be tough to replace him, but at this time, we felt that the assets we were getting to build the team we want to build in the future, that was critical. 

"You have to give up good players and good assets in return. You don't get first-round picks for players that don't have interest from other teams. You've got to play ball on both sides, and we had to give up a good player for that."

He's going to be bold, he's going to be creative, and he's going to be aggressive.

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