The Case For and Against Re-Signing Travis Konecny

Nov 10, 2023; Anaheim, California, USA; Philadelphia Flyers right wing Travis Konecny (11) warms up before the game against the Anaheim Ducks at Honda Center. Mandatory Credit: Kiyoshi Mio-USA TODAY Sports
Nov 10, 2023; Anaheim, California, USA; Philadelphia Flyers right wing Travis Konecny (11) warms up before the game against the Anaheim Ducks at Honda Center. Mandatory Credit: Kiyoshi Mio-USA TODAY Sports /

The Philadelphia Flyers are in year two of their acknowledged rebuild; the first under general manager Daniel Briere. One of the biggest looming questions is what will happen with star forward Travis Konecny. Ever since December of 2022, there have been stories by hockey experts far and wide, as well as close to home, to suggest that Konecny should be moved for a variety of reasons.

Many suggest because of his cheap salary, $5.5 million, that he could command a hefty haul of prospects, draft picks, and/or young and rising stars that need a change of scenery; sort of like how Owen Tippett has flourished here instead of in Florida. Some say he’d fit the Oilers or the Capitals.

Maybe that is all true. Perhaps the Flyers could find a team to mortgage their team’s future so we can build our own. Maybe it would work out…in three to five years. Maybe not.

However, based on his play last year, and so far this season, I think that Konecny, along with Sean Couturier, is the guy that this team needs to build around. He is the key to building players up and making them better, such as the aforementioned Tippett. When looking at his future, there are several reasons that the Flyers should look at in regard to keeping him here and one critical area that could cause this team to move him.

Relationship with Tortorella

One of the biggest concerns that Flyers’ fans had was how Konecny would respond to new head coach John Tortorella. When the previous coach, Alain Vigneault was here, he and Konecny didn’t jive together. Konecny was benched for unexplained reasons. Stat wise, he took a step back and regressed a bit. AV was known as a tough minded coach, as is Tortorella. This could spell disaster.

Early on last year, Konecny was benched during a third period, along with Kevin Hayes. The idea was to awaken the better players within. Hayes responded by pouting and complaining. Konecny responded by answering the call.

Game Elevated

After being benched, Konecny had his best season ever. Despite missing 22 games due to a variety of injuries, he set a career high in goals scored (31) and total points (61).  He has kept that going this year. In just 15 games, he has scored nine goals with four assists.  Last season, it wasn’t until December that he scored his ninth goal.

More and more, as players dropped away from injuries last year, he stepped up and took charge. He became the go-to guy that this club desperately needed. He is the spark that gets this team going. This is not the same guy that we’ve seen in years past. The best thing is, he is just 26. His best years are still ahead of him.

Locker Room Presence

It’s not just points that makes him a great player. He rallies around his teammates and picks them up. When there were rumors that Travis Sanheim might be traded, Konecny encouraged him on how to move past the stories. Sanheim is currently the Flyers’ team leader in points with 14. Last year, Konecny was the one who kept comparing Noah Cates, then a rookie, to his longtime teammate Couturier.

Konecny has been this team’s biggest cheerleader. He’s constantly pumping his guys up. Every team needs a player like that. He’s not only a guy to rally behind but the guy to rally around his players. Team chemistry is very important to the success of a team and is highly underrated.

Flyers Legend

As of right now, he stands at 26th all time with 345 points. He is four away from Jeff Carter. If he has a 50 point season (just 37 more points), that will bump him up to 382 points and sandwich him between #22 Dave Poulin and #23 Wayne Simmonds. If he adds 55 more points, he’ll break the 400 point barrier, and move him to 21st ahead of Eric Desjardins. That’s good Flyers company to be in. (Keep in mind, Couturier is just 30 points away from breaking the 500 career point mark and would be the 16th Flyer to do so.)

He has a chance to keep building on this legacy he is creating. He has a chance to become remembered as one of the all-time greatest Flyers. He’s seen the love bestowed upon Flyers fans on former teammate Claude Giroux. He’s been in Philly long enough to see the love given to Jason Kelce, Bryce Harper, and Joel Embiid. He could be that guy for the Flyers. He could be the face of the team on the ice. That’s what every player wants to be, right?

Does He Want to Stay?

Unless he doesn’t want that. Speaking of Giroux, he didn’t want to stick around to see this team go through a rebuild. He wanted to play for a contender. He was traded to Florida, the Panthers stumbled in the playoffs, he signed as a free agent for his hometown Ottawa Senators, and they have struggled ever since.

Does Konecny want to be a continued part of this rebuild? If he does, he can be the Flyers savior and help lead them back to dominance. If not, then he needs to be traded away while he has value.

Konecny is vital to this team’s future. However, if he doesn’t want to be a part of it, then the Flyers should, much like Giroux, try to honor his requests to go to a contender and get the best deal possible. The sort of deal that will help propel this team to greatness in the future.

If he wants to stay, then this team needs to figure out a way to sign him now so that they can adjust and prepare for any potential salary cap issues in the future. With a crop of bright and promising young players getting ready to make their move to the NHL, that will be a necessary step in ensuring a strong foundation for this team.

The time to figure out what will happen with Konecny is this season. He will have the highest trade value this year. If he wants to stay, lock him up. If he wants out, then move him at the deadline and begin preparations for the next few seasons. Either way, it’s up to Briere to make the moves necessary to make this team great again. I sincerely hope that it is with Konency wearing orange and black until he retires, but if it becomes necessary to move him, it must be done.

More. Morgan Frost, Owen Tippett Come On Strong as Flyers win Two Straight. light