Ever since he was drafted in the first round of the 2015 NHL Draft by the Philadelphia Flyers, Travis Konecny has stepped in as a younger guy, and has worked his way up to being one of the top contributors on the team. The 22-year-old has already had plenty of solid moments for the organization, making the future look brighter for not only him but also for the Flyers as a whole.
Gaining Respect Early
Scouts knew the potential that Konecny had ever since he was climbing up the ranks in the junior leagues. He started off his career in the Ontario Hockey League (OHL), joining the Ottawa 67’s.
The 67’s have had a rich history of success when it comes to growing talent. Some of the names that come to mind are Los Angeles Kings Stanley Cup champion Tyler Toffoli, current San Jose Sharks captain Logan Couture, longtime Detroit Red Wing Kris Draper, and Calgary Flames forward Sean Monahan, among others.
Konecny wasted no time adding his name to the list of big-impact talent, racking up 70 points in his first season with the team. He was looked upon as a leader amongst his teammates and would don the ‘C’ as captain for the franchise. He would play a total of three seasons for the 67’s, posting the following:
- 2013-14: 26 goals and 44 assists in 63 games
- 2014-15: 29 goals and 39 assists for 68 points in 60 games
- 2015-16: 7 goals and 38 assists for 45 points in 29 games
With impressive showings on the 67’s, Konecny became a top prospect for the 2015 Draft. He was a candidate among other respected names in the game today, as 2015 is considered one of the deeper drafts in recent memory. Some of the other top prospects for that draft included generational talent Connor McDavid, who was highly touted as potentially the next Sidney Crosby; Jack Eichel; Mitch Marner; and Mathew Barzal.
Konecny was selected 24th overall by the Flyers with a pick that the team had acquired from the Nashville Predators in a trade. The team had a pick earlier in the first round, drafting top defensive player Ivan Provorov. Konecny would get sent back to the 67’s heading into the 2015-16 hockey year, hoping it would not be too much longer before his dreams of becoming a player in the NHL would turn to reality.
During the 2015-16 OHL campaign, Konecny was traded to the Sarnia Sting. His production flourished even more, helping lead the team offensively with 23 goals and 33 assists for 56 points in 31 games. Including his point total with the 67’s that same season, he had racked up 30 goals and 71 assists for 101 points total between the two teams. Teammates of his on that Sting team included current New Jersey Devil Pavel Zacha, St. Louis Blues center Jordan Kyrou, and Arizona Coyotes defenseman Jakob Chychrun.
Konecny showed though that he himself was able to produce for whatever club he was on and was not a product of his teammates.
Becoming a Core Member in Philadelphia
Konecny would get his first taste of NHL action during the 2016-17 season. Management, who at the time was general manager Ron Hextall and head coach Dave Hakstol, decided that Konecny was ready to jump right in and make a difference for the big club right off the bat.
Sometimes, depending on the management and coaching philosophy, players, despite how far along they are, will get sent down to the AHL and continue their growth down there. Hextall and Hakstol figured that Konecny did not need that extra conditioning down there, and he would put up a decent rookie year, tallying 11 goals and 17 assists for 28 points in 70 contests.
His second season in Philadelphia saw more offensive growth, transitioning even more into the kind of player he was back when he was with Ottawa and Sarnia in the juniors. He chalked up 24 goals and 23 assists for 47 points, suiting up in all but one game that season.
Fast-forward now to this campaign in 2019-20, and the development of Konecny continues to get bigger. The rest of the NHL is taking notice too, as he was invited to his first All-Star Game. He continually posts new career highs for single-season stats, and he is able to take a good percentage of the team’s weight on his shoulders. To be able to do that with his talent at his age is very impressive to me (even with the idea of other guys like McDavid, Eichel, and Auston Matthews doing it on their own respective hockey clubs).
He already topped his career high in assists that he had chiseled in stone back in 2019 (25) by grabbing his 26th assist with just a little under 50 games played this season. In the goal category, he only needs eight more in order to set his career high goals in a single season. He has put up the stats below during his entire tenure in Philadelphia:
- 2016-17: 11 goals and 17 assists for 28 points in 70 games
- 2017-18: 24 goals and 23 assists for 47 points in 81 games
- 2018-19: 24 goals and 25 assists for 49 points in 82 games
- 2019-20 (so far): 17 goals and 26 assists for 43 points in 48 games
A younger core of talent has been forming in the past few seasons. Long ago are the days when Jeff Carter, former captain Mike Richards, Danny Briere, and Chris Pronger were running the show. Konecny is just one example of a few of the other younger Flyers looking to take the reigns and steer the ship toward more franchise success, and eventually getting their names etched in history on the Stanley Cup. The Flyers have put their trust into Konecny, the proof coming when they signed him to a six-year contract worth a total of $33 million.
He is no doubt worth the investment, and the organization will benefit long-term from his services. More work needs to be done, but Konecny has been putting in the work, and the results are coming in on his side of things.