Columbus Blue Jackets 2023-24 player review, Ivan Provorov was just okay

Ivan Provorov was one of the big acquisitions by the Blue Jackets last summer. The hope was that the defense would dramatically improve with his presence. Unfortunately, the team still was one of the worst defensive teams in the NHL.
Colorado Avalanche v Columbus Blue Jackets
Colorado Avalanche v Columbus Blue Jackets / Jason Mowry/GettyImages

Ivan Provorov was drafted 7th overall in the 2015 NHL draft by the Philadelphia Flyers (one pick ahead of fellow CBJ defenseman Zach Werenski). In the first few years of his career, he looked like a solid, top-pairing defenseman who had offensive upside.

Unfortunately for Provorov, his game regressed a bit. He struggled for the Flyers in 2021-2022 and 2022-2023. The Blue Jackets acquired him in the summer of 2023 in exchange for a 1st round pick and conditional 2nd round pick. That is a hefty price, but worth it if Provorov could return to form.

The Blue Jackets acquired Provorov hoping that he could stabilize their 2nd pairing on defense. With less pressure than the top pairing, the belief was that Provorov would have less pressure on him than in Philadelphia and would regain his form.

While Provorov did improve this season, he never regained his form from the early years of his career.

Provorov played on the 2nd pairing for the Blue Jackets and was on the 2nd power play unit. He was second on the team in scoring for defensemen with 32 points. He helped the Blue Jackets transition game and was a positive influence on the offensive side of the game.

However, his defensive play left more to be desired. He often had trouble in his own zone and struggled with turnovers at times. He really struggled with consistency. He had good moments, especially early in the season, but then there were moments where Provorov almost seemed like a liability in the defensive zone.

Overall, Provorov was a decent player for the team. Was he a top pairing defenseman like he was early in his career? No, not at all. But he was a decent second pairing defenseman. Was he worth the hefty price they paid to get him? Probably not. He did not elevate the defense to a level that the Blue Jackets were hoping that he could.

One positive for Provorov was that he played in all 82 games for the Blue Jackets. With all the injuries that the Blue Jackets have sustained over the past few seasons, playing in all 82 games has been a rarity for players in this organization.

Provorov is signed through next season at $4.725 million AAV. Next summer, he will be an unrestricted free agent. It is unlikely that the Blue Jackets will sign him to a contract extension past next season.

With all the young talent coming in plus GM Don Waddell wanting to bring in his own players via trade or free agency, it just appears as though Provorov’s time with the CBJ won’t extend beyond next season. It wouldn’t surprise anyone if he is traded this summer for immediate help.

Or, if the Blue Jackets fail to make a playoff push next season, for Provorov to be traded at next season’s trade deadline. Either way, it seems likely that the Blue Jackets will part ways with the defenseman in the coming year.

Ivan Provorov 2023-2024 grade:. B. Final season stats: 82 games played, 5 goals, 27 assists, 32 points, 20 PIM, -11, 107 shots on goal. . Ivan Provorov 2023-2024 grade:

Provorov played in all 82 games for the CBJ and contributed offensively for the team. While he improved the blue line for the CBJ, the team’s total defense was minimally improved. While not his fault, it just shows that he was not a significant upgrade to the CBJ defense, as he was expected to be. For that, he gets a B from us.