Travis Konecny has probably been the most beneficial player this season for the Philadelphia Flyers. However, as the NHL Trade Deadline set for Mar. 3 approaches, there’s been plenty of rumours about the organization seeking trade opportunities for the 25-year-old forward.
In June 2022, when John Tortorella was announced as the Flyers’ new head coach, there was talk surrounding the prompt of a “massive retool” to their game; thus, the conversation of finding a new identity began. The Flyers new coach had a lot of expectations for the team moving into the 2022-23 season with the plan of leaving a handful of disastrous seasons in the past.
“We have a lot of work to do,” Tortorella told SportsNet Christine Simpson back in November. “The teaching that has to go on here, it’s going to take some time.”
The organization has been trying to keep its distance from categorizing changes as a rebuild, which usually means lowering expectations during a period of transition, but Konecny seems to be going above and beyond expectations this season.
Trading a player is a decision that is up to the team management, and it depends on various factors, including team needs, salary cap situation, and the player’s performance and contract status. Ultimately, the decision to trade or keep a player is complex and considers many different factors, and only time will tell the best decision. For the Flyers, specifically, they’ll have to consider their options extremely well-rounded to their idea of a new identity.
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Konecny has been a part of a handful of trade rumours, including the Calgary Flames, who require another point-producing winger. The Flames seem to be the top prospect in terms of trade rumours, and the Flyers, after shopping Matthew Tkachuk and losing Johnny Gaudreau, they’re looking for another star forward to continue to help lead their team.
The Seattle Kraken is also among the teams looking to build their offense as they find their pace in the league, and the Florida Panthers also need a momentum boost.
Why The Flyers Shouldn’t Trade Konecny
Konecny has shown a new level of offensive production, skill set, and versatility this season. He has consistently been one of the team’s top point producers; looking back to 2021-22 when he produced 52 points in 72 games (16 goals and 36 assists) which was a career record for the forward, and presently has 49 points in 46 games (24 goals and 26 assists) which puts him on track to swiftly surpass that record. With that being said, he steadily uses his speed and stickhandling ability to create scoring opportunities for himself and his teammates.
Konecny also plays a physical and tenacious game, making him an effective two-way player and, more recently, on the penalty kill, where he’s been a helpful addition next to alternate captain Scott Laughton.
“It definitely gives me another opportunity to get involved in a game if I’m not feeling it five-on-five, or I’m not feeling it on the power play,” Konecny said quoted by Ariel Melendez of PhiHockeyNow. “You feel like you’re part of the momentum swing in a game. And that’s huge for us.”
As of 2022-23, the Flyers sitting at 18th in the league on the penalty kill, which is a huge step from their 2021-22 position of 26th. Therefore, Konecny’s new role within special teams may have made a positive impact and highlights his willingness to play in different roles and situations, which is what this team needs, a committed and devoted player that shows his value on the roster.
Konecny’s versatility has been valuable, as he has been used in different roles and on different lines, demonstrating a willingness to play wherever he is needed. These attributes, combined with his youth and potential for continued growth, make Konecny a valuable asset for the Flyers moving forward. It has also been his best year with the Flyers yet, and his constant strive to meet the goals of Tortorella shows signs of leadership.
“We had a great conversation about leadership, about what’s expected, and more responsibility thats going to be put on his shoulders as far as defining leadership,” the new head coach told Sportsnet regarding benching the 25-year-old in the third period against the San Jose Sharks on Oct. 23, 2022. “It’s my job to teach a team concept, and that’s what that was.”
One minor hiccup does not mean Konecny should be considered a trade opportunity. He’s shown his versatility and has grasped the idea of finding a new identity for this Flyers squad; His performance on the ice proves his willingness to want this team to succeed, and his success this season should stand out as a reason not to consider any movement within his position in the league.
At the end of the day, rumours are just rumours; you can’t win every game you play. In fact, these players learn from losses and the challenges they face within the league. Konecny has proven this year that he wants to be a Flyer; his skills and abilities will continue to improve alongside his teammates, and his leadership potential shows he can help sway this team into a playoff contender once again. The young forward currently has a $5.75 million AAV and is signed through the 2024-25 season.