Acquired via: Undrafted free agency, signed on April 2, 2012
Current Team/League: Adirondack Phantoms, AHL
Contract: $925,000 per year through 2015 (two-way, entry-level contract)
The Philadelphia Flyers aren't shy about dipping into the undrafted free-agent pool. For a period of time it may have been done due to having traded away a number of draft picks, but more recently the Flyers have retained their draft picks but still continue to stake their claim in the undrafted free-agent market. Such was the case in 2012 when the Flyers signed the "overage" defenseman from the Medicine Hat Tigers of the Western Hockey League.
Canadian Junior players that play at age 20 are often referred to as "overagers" and it's not unusual for such players to put up impressive numbers during that overage season. Bill Meltzer wrote for PhiladelphiaFlyers.com:
It is not uncommon for junior overage players to post gaudy offensive statistics in their final season. That is because the older players are often more developed physically than many of their opponents. They are also more experienced, with some overagers playing in their fourth - or even fifth - season in the league.
As such, even the most impressive overage seasons need to be taken with a grain of salt. That is not to say that many undrafted junior overagers and undrafted older collegiate players signed by NHL teams as free agents do not subsequently go on to enjoy solid professional careers that take them to multi-year careers.
From our article announcing his signing, "Konan compared himself to Chris Pronger -- physical when he needs to be, but more reliant on staying calm in the defensive end and making a solid outlet pass." (Ed. note: I feel like I've heard that before...)
From the same Bill Meltzer article above:
The Flyers believe that Konan had the capability all along to post some points, because he is an adept passer who makes good breakout passes and intelligent pinches.
...it is his all-around situational game that will be what makes or breaks his professional career.
After signing with the club, Konan began his career in the East Coast Hockey League with the Flyers' former affiliate the Trenton Titans. He only spent five games there however, and was quickly recalled to the Phantoms where he managed two goals and four assists for six points in 45 games played.
While the numbers themselves don't seem overly impressive, the Flyers must have liked what they saw out of Konan. Late in the season when the defense corps was ravaged by injuries the Flyers made two call-ups: Brandon Manning and Matt Konan. While Manning was probably expected, Matt Konan was not. He was sent back down without having played a game, but was later recalled again when the Flyers brought up a number of prospects to spend the last few games of the season with the club.
This time Konan found himself with his first taste of NHL hockey when he dressed for the Flyers last two games of the season. He didn't fair too poorly, playing over 13 and 18 minutes respectively in those games. While he didn't manage any points, he was not on the ice for any goals against in two victories.
Konan has spent the entirety of the 2013-2014 season with the Phantoms with zero goals and two assists in 26 games. To begin the year he found himself on a crowded blueline with more touted defenseman in Brandon Manning, Mark Alt, and Oliver Lauridsen, who was a pleasant surprise with the Flyers last year, ahead of him on the depth chart. Additionally, with Bruno Gervais having been demoted before the season, things looked even bleaker for the young blueliner. Konan has also been a scratch for over a month now with a concussion; and when he does return he'll have even more competition with Marc-Andre Bourdon having returned from his own concussion problems.
While injuries and a crowded blueline have inhibited Konan slightly in 2013-2014, he must be well-liked in the organization based upon his two recalls in 2012-2013. His offensive numbers are nothing pretty but he showed tremendous growth in going from the ECHL to the NHL in his first professional season. If he can put it together, his combination of size, mobility, and passing ability would be a welcome addition to the Flyers.
How we voted for Matt Konan:
Who we voted for at No. 23:
|Derek Mathers||Marc-Andre Bourdon||Eric Wellwood||Carsen Chubak||Mark Alt||Matt Konan||Brandon Alderson||Matt Mangene|