Philadelphia Flyers forward Travis Konecny has been a polarizing figure since he showed up on the scene in 2016. Earning the love and ire of fans for his middle school-esque approach to the game with his funny faces and use of the word “nerd.” For the most part, he has always been able to back up his comedic approach to the game with plenty of production on the score sheet, though his inconsistency over the last few years has raised a few eyebrows.
He’s is in the middle of a career renaissance and currently sitting over a point-per-game over a quarter way into the season, which would seem like a natural player to keep around, right?
But what if they sold high on TK to clear some cap and gain a few assets? Rumors regarding the front office potentially trading Konecny have been swirling for the last few offseasons, but there’s ultimately been no fire to that smoke so far.
Konecny is 25 years old with a birthday in March and has two years left on his current contract at a $5.5 million cap hit. He’s seven years into his NHL career with 120 goals and 293 points in 448 games.
The biggest question is whether or not this is the new consistent Konecny or are we just witnessing a flash in the pan? History says this is an anomaly season. It’s been three years since his previous career best performance, a 24-goal, 61-point effort in 66 games during the shortened 2019-20 season. He’s only hit the 50-point plateau twice before this season, and scored 24 goals in three consecutive seasons from 2017 to 2020, but only scored 27 goals during 129 games in two seasons from 2020-2022.
There are very few players who hold a positive trade value for the Flyers these days. After re-signing Travis Sanheim earlier in the season, who was their best pending unrestricted free agent trade chip, the Flyers are going to have to move a player with term in they’re intent on clearing a bit of cap space and adding an extra draft pick or two.
If Konecny can keep his production hovering around a point-per-game pace for the remainder of the season, it is best the Flyers try to sell high on him, especially if there’s no intent to ice a competitive roster in the near future. There’s a good chance they could ask for a first round pick in return, and entering the coveted 2023 draft, an extra selection for a player who could regress at any minute is a pretty solid trade, not to mention the Flyers would clear $5.5 million to enter free agency in pursuit of a more pressing position upgrade at center.
The question becomes whether or not the Flyers believe he’s worth committing to? Do they see through the remainder of his deal, or do they try and cash out and sell high on his rising stock when his value is at its peak?
The biggest problem with Konecny is he’s so frustratingly average. At 25 years old with 450 games under his belt, a 23-game sample size isn’t enough to prove he’s turned his career around. With an abundance of young up-and-comers expected to slot in at right wing over the next year or so, the Flyers are going to have decisions to make this summer, and thanks to Chuck Fletcher’s incompetence everywhere else in the lineup, they may have no choice but to deal a couple tenured vets just to create enough breathing room heading into a, theoretically, very important offseason.
Reality is, there’s nobody on the Flyers’ roster that should be safe from trade speculation. This has been a very bad team for a very long time and most of the players are and have been guilty for years. The smart play would be to cash in on the good seasons, clear a bit of cap and reassess going into the 2023 offseason with choices and a bit of breathing room rather than with zero cap space and a roster filled with losers that make it impossible to make much needed additions, and just be thankful that one of their expensive veterans played well enough they didn’t have to pay another team to take their contract off the books.
“Sorry, Teeks. It’s not you, it’s me” – Chuck Fletcher, probably
By: Dan Esche (@DanTheFlyeraFan)
photo credit: nhl.com