There are very few things that throw Philadelphia Flyers’ social media into disarray like the idea of trading 24-year-old Travis Konecny. Though as the Flyers stand on the precipice of being serious contenders, Chuck Fletcher will have to make some hard decisions when it comes to improving his roster, and trading current roster players for better players is part of that process. We won’t get into specific theories here, but rather weighing the positives and negatives of trading Travis Konecny himself.
One of the most valuable trade pieces
Typically when the notion of Travis Konecny getting dealt out of Philly emerges, it’s met with “so you think he’s a bad player” but the answer is quite contrary. Attaching TK’s name to deals for top players doesn’t mean he’s a worthless throw-in piece, it means he’s probably the crown jewel going back the other way. For the most part the Flyers lack true trade pieces in terms of actual roster value. Players like Voracek, Hayes, and Van Riemsdyk are all good players but their contracts make it almost impossible to move, and guys like Frost, Patrick, and Laczynski just don’t have a solid NHL track record to believe they’d become functioning members of a new team. Konecny is the only player that is both on a good contract and has the youth and potential upside in his favor.
His lackluster playoffs
Some players rise to the occasion in the postseason, and other disappear once the going gets tough. Unfortunately, Konecny seems to be the latter. He’s recorded just one goal and eight points in 22 playoff games. Now, he’s far from the only culprit when it comes to struggling during the playoffs, but he’s one of the guys who should be leading the charge, especially when he led the team in points during the 2020 regular season. If he ultimately doesn’t show up when it matters most, maybe getting that energy out of the room is the best step for success moving forward.
One of the few things the Flyers have in copious amount is depth at the wing. While it’s hard to file Konecny under the “expendable” category, his presence on the team doesn’t seem to be life or death. With the emergence of Joel Farabee, and the seemingly limitless budding of rookie Wade Allison, the Flyers already have two younger replacements. With at least one of James Van Riemsdyk and Jake Voracek likely coming back and depth players like Scott Laughton, Oskar Lindblom, and potential wingers like Morgan Frost and Nolan Patrick, there is a very real possibility that this could be a replacement by committee situation.
Has he reached his peak?
Before the disaster of the season that 2020-21 turned into, Konency was slowly but surely developing into a semi-consistent offensive threat. His 24 goals and 61 points in 2019-20 were not only a personal best but lead the team in both categories. How much further could he have pushed things if the last 13 games of the season been played? The thing is, that year has been the outlier so far, as he hasn’t broke the 50-point mark in any of his four other seasons. Even though he’s just 24 years old he is entering his sixth NHL season, and relying on his potential to develop further is harder and harder to hold on to. You’d be taking an inherent risk moving a player of his age and skill, but maybe we’ve seen the peak of what Konencny has to offer.
Potential of losing a trade
Anytime you’re concocting a trade big enough to throw in a player like Konecny in return, there’s always the possibility that things don’t turn out great. It’s Hextall 101 to be terrified of making trades with the fear of possibly losing the deal at the end of the day. While the rumors of Seth Jones’ demise seem to be exaggerated, what if he comes to Philly and continues to decline or doesn’t re-sign next summer? What if Eichel gets traded to Philly and his neck problems limit his career moving forward? There’s inherent risk in every deal once you start talking about trading a player of his caliber.
Konecny may not be a fighter or old school grinder, but he sure knows how to get under opponent’s skin with his creative vocabulary. Fans got an inside look at that during the 2019 “Wired” series when he dropped his now famous lines “eat up, bud” and Karma’s a bitch, eh?” While he’s not great at putting his money where his mouth is, the role or agitator isn’t worthless in the game of hockey.
It’s no secret that Travis Konecny is a fan favorite to the Flyers’ faithful and the natural pushback when his name is thrown around is trade scenarios is expected. Though if they removed their rose-colored glasses and assessed Konecny honestly, it’s fair to put Teeks in the good-not-great category. It’s not impossible to believe he has more in the tank or could reach another level, but it’s also becoming less and less likely there’s legitimate superstar potential within. Even prorating his points during the two pandemic-effected seasons doesn’t paint a picture of a truly elite level forward. He shouldn’t be given up in a trade easily, but clinging on to something that just may not be there isn’t going to help the Flyers progress either.
By: Dan Esche (@DanTheFlyeraFan)
Photo credit: nbcsports.com