The Flyers Need Travis Konecny Back

Philadelphia Flyers v Chicago Blackhawks
Philadelphia Flyers v Chicago Blackhawks / Jamie Sabau/GettyImages

While we are wiping away the tears from Jason Kelce's retirement, we can return to Flyers hockey. The team is getting close to the trade deadline and the last third of the season. They are still in playoff contention and are a much improved team from last year.

However, they have struggled recently. Yes, they are playing a lot of better, playoff-bound teams as of late. True, they have also been playing a lot of teams within their division that would normally be playing harder against their divisional rivals. There is another reason why the Flyers have been struggling. They have been playing without their top-scoring forward, Travis Konecny.

Konecny has missed six games. During that stretch, the team has gone 2-3-1. You wonder if his scoring touch could've made a difference in the 2-1 loss to the Rangers or the 7-6 debacle against the Penguins. Without Tyson Foerster scoring five goals in those six games, the Flyers' offense would be nonexistent.

His absence has shown how vital he is to this team. He is the sniper who turns penalty kills into scoring opportunities. His 27 goals are five more than his next closest teammate (Owen Tippett). It took his absence for Joel Farabee to tie his 27 assists and Travis Sanheim to pass him (29) for the team lead. His 54 points are still nine more than Farabee.

Overall, Konecny will shatter the career highs he set last year. He is just four goals away from tying last year's total of 31. With seven more points, he'll tie his career high of 61. He is a scoring machine and he is becoming a team leader.

I've stated before that the Flyers need to re-sign Konecny. With Jason Kelce retiring, we see the Eagles suddenly without a leader. The Phillies have recently re-signed Zach Wheeler and are allegedly in talks to extend Bryce Harper. The Phils know the value of leadership.

The Flyers were without a team captain after Claude Giroux's departure. That was until they announced Sean Couturier as their new captain a few weeks ago. Couturier has long been the soul of this team. That is his role. Konecny's role is to be "Mr. Clutch" and score when we need a jumpstart. If the last few games have shown, we need him. Not just for this season, but the long term.