Flyers GM Daniel Briere has just locked up winger Owen Tippett for eight years. That deal will keep Tippett in Philly until 2032. As far as forwards go, the Flyers don't have too many signed past next season. Sean Couturier is locked in until 2030. Joel Farabee will be donning the orange and black until 2028. Scott Laughton, Ryan Poehling, and Nic Deslauriers have two more seasons left on their contracts.
The rest of the team is filled of younger players who are under team control as long as they are restricted free agents. The team has a good mix of older vets and rising young stars. While this team is rebuilding, the management needs to examine which of its young players are worth holding onto and which vets to keep. The biggest name for Briere to have to consider is Travis Konecny. Konecny will be a free agent next year.
The topic of re-signing Konency has come up quite a bit over the last 18 months. After all, he struggled when Alain Vigneault was the coach. His production stalled, and he seemed stuck. However, when John Tortorella became the Flyers' head coach last season, Konecny took off. He scored a career-high 30 goals and topped the 60-point plateau for the first time in just 60 games. But was it all a fluke?
We are currently discovering that it is no fluke. In 49 games, he has scored 22 goals, just eight shy of last year's totals. His 20 assists are just 10 away from last year's totals, and he is 19 points away from his 61 points from last year. He has also added a deadly shorthanded shot to his game and currently leads the NHL with five shorthanded tallies. Because of his strong play, he has been named the Flyers' representative at the NHL All-Star Game in Toronto.
We know the salary cap will go up next year. How much? Who knows. We know that the Flyers will have some money to dole out. Konecny is also making $5.5 million this season. That will be $500,000 less than Tippett will be earning. Konecny is the star of this team and will probably want to be paid as much. It is not unreasonable to assume that he could be earning a payday of at least $8 million and command as much as $10-11 million as his level of play is starting to be comparable to some of the NHL elites like David Pastrnak or Alex Pietrangelo.
A payday like that, depending on the salary cap, could hinder the Flyers in future years as they could be handicapped by the cap (see Holmgren, Paul). It took the Flyers years to get out of previous messes there. We don't need to go back to those days. At the same time, Konecny is a special player. He's helped to make players like Farabee and Tippett better offensive players. It might be great to reward a dedicated player like that.
Not only that but locking up a Flyers like Konency for the long term gives the younger players something to look forward to. They can see that if they play well, they can be given lucrative, long-term deals as well. They know they can be valued part of the Flyers' history, traditions, and future.
Hopefully, Briere is working on Konecny's case now. It'd be great to see him be a Flyer for life and not see that cut short. After all, he seems to like it here in Philly.