Before a little over a week ago, Travis Konecny’s name, apart from the minds of the Philadelphia faithful, wasn’t that well-known across the league, even though his consistent production for the Flyers offense bumped him to a first line role alongside Claude Giroux and Sean Couturier. It wasn’t until Konecny’s most recent, highlight-reel goal that started turning heads around the hockey community, giving the kid the credit he probably deserved a lot earlier on in the year:
TAKE. A. SEAT.— NHL (@NHL) April 1, 2018
And Travis Konecny... take a bow. pic.twitter.com/XSFl8JcbB4
Now, Konecny has to be on every coach’s radar, otherwise he’ll burn you and hit you hard, and then you’ll find a puck in the back of your net. Apart from having him on my fantasy team for more than half the season, that exhausts my knowledge of #11. To give us a more in depth look at the former 2015 first round draft pick, we brought in Mary Clarke from The Athletic Philadelphia to give us a broader perspective on Konecny and the role he plays on the Flyers roster.
1. So...Travis Konecny. What kind of role has he been getting with the Flyers this year?
MC: Travis Konecny has bounced around the Flyers lineup this season. While he spent the first half of the season in the team’s middle six, Konecny got a promotion to the Flyers top line alongside Claude Giroux and Sean Couturier at the end of December and since has been mostly occupying the first line wing spot. The top line suited Konecny well, as playing alongside talented playmakers like Giroux and Couturier allowed his fast-paced, high-energy game to thrive. When Konecny is on the ice, he’s likely to cause a bit of commotion for the other team as a bit of a pest, and get a scoring chance or two.
Since the return of forward Michael Raffl from injury, however, Konecny was bumped down to the third line to spread the wealth of talent. If the end of the season is any indication, Penguins fans should expect to see Konecny on the team’s third line as game time draws near.
2. Has he met expectations of the fanbase?
MC: Yes, and then some. Last season was Konecny’s rookie year, and he had just 28 points in 70 games played. Konecny was benched a few times last season and spent the last month or so of the year out with an injury, but he went cold offensively at times. This year, however, Konecny has 24 goals and 47 total points in 81 games, marking a massive step up from his rookie season. Not only that, Konecny has turned into this team’s “energy guy” for lack of a better term. Some people like to call him the next Brad Marchand, but Flyers fans will say he fits the mold of a Danny Briere better. Konecny is small – just 5’10’’ – but he plays with the energy of a guy twice his size, and he is known to get under the opposition’s skin.
3. What do you think he will need to do in order for the Flyers to succeed in this series?
MC: I can very much see Konecny making his mark on this cross-state rivalry with some big moment. Whether it be a key goal in a clutch time or a huge hit that the Penguins weren’t expecting. In order for the Flyers to win this series, however, Konecny will need to be a key part of the team’s offense, even from the third line alongside Wayne Simmonds and Valtteri Filppula. Head coach Dave Hakstol may turn to inserting Konecny back on the top line if the Flyers need scoring late in the game, and that moment will be where Konecny needs to shine if the Flyers want to advance in the playoffs.
4. What is your prediction for the series?
MC: I’m already on the hook for saying that the Penguins will beat the Flyers in five games on my official NHL bracket, so I’m going to stick with it. The Flyers have great offensive potential, but the pieces are not all there for them to hang with the back-to-back Stanley Cup champions. There’s definitely part of me that wants the team to play spoiler to the Penguins repeat chances, but I do not have my hopes up. I do hope, however, that the Penguins will show some mercy and not blow the Flyers out every game. Flyers fans already know their team is not in the same class as the Penguins, and if they think otherwise then they’ve got a big wake up call coming, but it’d be nice to at least get one victory out of this series.
Big stick tap to Mary for taking the time to give us the scoop on Konecny!