The Philadelphia Flyers told Travis Konecny that they could have traded him, but didn’t because they believe in him. There would’ve been tons of offers thrown the Flyers’ way since a player like him would generate a lot of interest from every team around the league. It was a smart decision to stick out a bad season with the 24-year-old and work on the necessary things to help improve his game and get him back to an elite level.
The Flyers know better than anyone what Konecny is capable of, as they were the ones who scouted, drafted, and developed him. It shows great knowledge of the game to be able to demonstrate patience with young players as sometimes they go through growing pains and bounce back harder. Someone who panics and trades players while their stock is low never gets the same results.
Why Flyers Decided to Keep Travis Konecny
In Konecny’s sophomore season with the Flyers, you could already see signs of a breakout player. With 24 goals in back-to-back seasons in 2017-18 and 2018-19, how high could his ceiling be? If at only age 21 he was a two-time 20-goal scorer — what happens when he reaches his prime?
Konecny then really broke out, putting up 61 points in 66 games in the first of two shortened seasons. He once again scored 24 goals, making it three consecutive years with that exact mark. That season, 2019-20, he led the Flyers in goals and points.
Konecny showed all the signs of being a vital piece in the Flyers’ chances at finally bringing another Stanley Cup home. They locked him up until the end of 2024-25 in a deal that started to look very team-friendly at $5.5 million per season. Not bad for a top-line player who could easily score over 20 goals a season and was at nearly a point per game. Even after a down season, it would be foolish to give up on a player so soon. They made the right decision in keeping him.
Why the Flyers Could Have Traded Travis Konecny
One year later, Konecny was just not the same player as he showed in the previous three seasons, only improving on the year prior. He took a huge step back. Twenty-four goals turned to 11, the same amount as he recorded in his rookie season, and 0.92 points per game (P/G) turned to 0.64. He was much less effective on the power play and his ice time was cut by just short of one minute per game.
Who would’ve thought that the following season after being close to a point-per-game player we would see Konecny be a healthy scratch for the Flyers?
“I believe Travis Konecny is one of our top three forwards, (with) tremendous potential. He’s doing some things right, like going to the net and stopping.”-Alain Vigneault
Head coach Alain Vigneault also discussed how the 5-on-5 play just wasn’t where it needed to be for the Flyers. A huge failure for the team during the season was allowing goals. The duties in the defensive end don’t solely rely on the defencemen and goalies. Just like how offence can be relied on to go through defencemen, forwards have to be relied upon in the defensive end. This could be by getting pucks out cleanly and starting breakouts properly, covering their man on the points, or backchecking.
“His 5-on-5 game needs to be better in the areas he’s aware of… there’s a 200-foot game you need to play.”-Alain Vigneault
Not only was the offence not where it needed to be, but the defensive side of Konecny’s game was also lacking. Maybe if his offensive production was closer to where it was from previous seasons, then Vigneault would’ve reconsidered benching the forward. But since his overall game was in need of some work, it was the right call to allow him to focus on getting better.
During last season’s exit interviews, Konecny went in on pointing out possible issues and problems that may have contributed to his down season.
“I wish I could tell you; I would have fixed it. I’m not too sure. I think this season was weird in general. And if you had any sort of issues in your game, it was hard to work on certain things and get back to where you need to be because there was no practice time to reset and maybe get your confidence back. But other than that, maybe I wasn’t shooting the puck as much as I was last year, trying to do too much. Maybe just get back to simplify my game. I’m gonna have some time to reflect on that and hopefully figure it out over the offseason.”-Travis Konecny
By weird, I think he’s referring to the whole season being a wash after such high expectations for a Flyers team that played very well the season before. In a short and crunched schedule, he speaks on the value that practices hold in fixing little things and regaining confidence. For Konecny, the confidence wasn’t nearly as high as in seasons prior, as he struggled at both ends of the ice.
Travis Konecny Appears to be Back to his Old Self
Konecny did have time to reset, and it looks like he simplified his game as he said he would. He kicked off the season on the right foot, scoring his first goal of the season in the first game. He is back on the top line with Claude Giroux and Sean Couturier. I know it’s a young season, but Konecny’s ice time is already well above what it was last season and through his entire career.
Did you know, Konecny, Joel Farabee, and Cam Atkinson are the first Flyers trio to each score three or more goals in the team’s first three games of the season since 1982-83? Bill Barber, Brian Propp, and Darryl Sittler were the last to accomplish this. Also, Konecny is one of six Flyers’ players to record a point in all three games of the season so far.
The Flyers are off to a good start at 2-0-1. Konecny has recorded three goals and four points in their games. His hockey IQ seems to have increased as well, as he isn’t just forcing shots through anymore. He said he has been waiting for his teammates to join him in plays. Especially with his linemates, playing as a five-man unit always seems to work out better. The Flyers will need him to continue to be consistent all the way through the season and have a great bounce-back season.
Rob Couch is a THW freelance writer covering mainly the Edmonton Oilers and Philadelphia Flyers. He covers everything you need to know about fantasy hockey. He will also keep you up to date with the NHL Stat Corner and trade talks from around the NHL.