Pierre-Eduoard Bellemare’s tenure as an alternate captain in Philadelphia lasted a little less than four months.
The French forward reportedly is off to Las Vegas as the first-year franchise plucked him from the Flyers in the expansion draft. The move came as a surprise considering goaltender Michal Neuvirth was available, as were other names like Jordan Weal, Michael Raffl and Matt Read.
With the Flyers once again needing to name a second alternate captain alongside Wayne Simmonds and the captain, Claude Giroux, perhaps it’s time to think more of the future than anything else. That’s why it’s time to give Ivan Provorov the ‘A.’
Is it too early to put so much pressure on a second-year player who is just 20 years old? Maybe, but then again, Provorov is hardly a kid. General manager Ron Hextall, head coach Dave Hakstol and many of his teammates have already expressed his maturation and how he plays more like a 30-year-old vet than a 20-year-old.
Giving Provorov the title would also give the Flyers a new type of voice in the leadership circle. There’s the leader by example (Giroux), the vocal leader (Simmonds) and in Provorov’s case, the youth leader.
Think of it as him serving as the bridge, a transition coach of sorts, for all these up-and-coming prospects. From now through the next two-plus years, there could be a surplus of youth infusion in the orange and black — Sam Morin, Robert Hagg, Oskar Lindblom and whoever is taken at No. 2 (Nolan Patrick or Nico Hischier) could all potentially be on the opening night roster. Next year, Phil Myers and Travis Sanheim, along with German Rubtsov and Felix Sandstrom, could be making the jump.
They’ll all need someone to turn to, someone they can relate to.
Provorov is the perfect candidate.
Let Giroux lead the team, let Simmonds be the on-ice leader, and let Provorov be the commander in chief of the youth movement; the guy any of these youngsters can comfortably approach in the locker for a question or when seeking guidance through a rookie slump.
He’d be the youngest alternate captain — and would be the youngest player with any such leadership role, along with Edmonton Oilers captain Connor McDavid (who shares the same birthday) — but his one year proved just enough that he can handle the responsibility.