After the Ivan Provorov trade, Flyers general manager Daniel Briere reiterated his promise that just about any player could be bought if the price is right and fair. Philly can’t afford to be sentimental right now and hold onto pieces just because. If someone on the team can give them a good return in a deal, Briere should do his due diligence and explore ever possible option to improve this team, even if it hurts in the short term.
Another player coming up on the trade rumor rounds is Travis Konecny. Konecny had his best statistical year in his seven year career. This comes with him playing just 60 games, the fewest in his career in a non-COVID affected season. He suffered an injury in the fall, just before he went on a major hot streak in December and January and was injured near the end of the season as well.
According to rumors, the Edmonton Oilers are asking Briere about Konecny’s availability. A trade with the Oilers makes a LOT of sense for one of the sides, as we will examine later.
Edmonton is the Western Conference’s version of the Toronto Maple Leafs. What do I mean by that? They have a lot of talent and put up a staggering about of points. Each year, they are favorites to go to the Stanley Cup. Every year, they fall short somewhere. And every year, this team has to find answers as to why they fell short yet again.
This year, the Oilers finished in second place in their division behind Vegas. In fact, it was Vegas who dispatched the Oilers in six games in the second round of the playoffs. This is despite Leon Draisaitl scoring 13 goals, Connor McDavid scoring 20 points, and defender Evan Bouchard adding 17. Despite having the best hockey player on the planet, they can’t break through. In fact, McDavid’s 20 points are still sixth best in the playoffs and Draisaitl’s 13 goals are tied with Vegas’s Jonathan Marchessault’s for most in this playoff season despite not playing the last two rounds.
The LA Kings and Vegas Golden Knights couldn’t stop Draisaitl or McDavid. They didn’t have to. All they had to due was find a way to neutralize the other 18 players on the ice. In Vegas’s case, they just simply outscored the Oilers in some high scoring affairs. In response, the Oilers are realizing they need to spread their scoring out a bit. This is where Konecny fits in.
Edmonton has the cap space to take on Konecny. He’s making $5.5 million. His 31 goals and 61 points would both be good for fifth on the team. He could easily slide onto the second line or turn that third line into an offensive juggernaut as well.
What could the Oilers give the Flyers in a Konecny trade?
What would the return be? That’s hard to judge. Edmonton has only a 2nd, 6th, and 7th pick this year. Currently, the Oilers are also without their 3rd, 4th, and 7th round picks next year and their 2025 second round pick. As a result, it may be hard to see them continue to offer much in the way of draft picks as compensation…but hey, if they want to sell their future to Philly, go for it!
The Oilers have their core of McDavid, Draisaitl, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, Zach Hyman, and Darnell Nurse signed for a while. They have to consider re-signing Bouchard, Klim Kostin, and Ryan McLeod; their only RFAs. And outside of Bouchard, their RFAs have yet to show anything above steady depth player.
One player who would be interesting is Evander Kane. Kane has been a lot of the subject of a lot of controversies including, but not limited to: COVID protocol issues, dirty play, bankruptcy, physical assaults, and sexual assault. Despite his talent, it’s becoming obvious that the Oilers would love to rid themselves of him. I can’t see the Flyers matching him up with John Tortorella. That’s a recipe for disaster; especially if you are giving up one of Tortorella’s favorite guys.
Edmonton has some intriguing prospects like Shane Lachance, Jayden Grubbe, and Maxim Denezhkin. They all seem to show some upside, but are also several years away from being NHL ready.
I’d hate to see Konecny traded, but if Briere is going to make a move, make it a good one. The Oilers don’t have a whole lot to give. It’s not like they aren’t going to give us Draisaitl or Nugent-Hopkins in exchange for Konecny. They are running low on high draft picks. Their farm system is ok, but nothing the Flyers could use right now. Many of their NHL level players are just not what Philly can use right now; outside of their superstars. So it doesn’t make a lot of sense to pull the trigger on this deal when they don’t have to.
It is a possibility that Konecny is traded, but I can’t see him going to Edmonton. But who knows, stranger things have happened. And remember, over 30 years ago, the Oilers did trade Wayne Gretzky.