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2017-18 Player Review: Travis Konecny hits his stride

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Still talking Travii

NHL: Pittsburgh Penguins at Philadelphia Flyers Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports

We’re wrapping up the week here, folks, and we’re closing out our week of talking about our favorite Flyers who are also named Travis.

I mean, there are only two of them. Not a large group to pick from. But we still love both of them. And we love talking about them…

I’m rambling, aren’t I? This is getting weird, right? Yeah? Okay. Uhh, so Travis Konecny had an equal parts weird and eventually stellar season. We’re talking about him now. Cool. Let’s just do that. Let’s move on.

By The Numbers

By now you know the formula, and we won’t be straying from it, so we’re dipping into the numbers. Get excited, friends. There’s a lot to like here.

Basic Stats

Games Played Goals Assists Points PIM Shots on Goal Shooting Percentage
Games Played Goals Assists Points PIM Shots on Goal Shooting Percentage
87 24 23 47 56 184 13.59%

He’s come a long way, folks! It doesn’t feel too long ago that some of us were sweating around the mid-season point, when he was on pace to score just 9.76 goals on the whole of the season. Now? He ended the season third in goals and fifth in points among his teammates. And that’s quite the turnaround in production, and just when the team needed to be making a stronger push forward. And it gets even better.

5v5 On-Ice Stats

Score-Adjusted Corsi For % SA-Corsi Relative Corsi For % RelTM Score Adjusted-Expected Goals For % SA-Expected Goals Relative % Goals For % PDO
Score-Adjusted Corsi For % SA-Corsi Relative Corsi For % RelTM Score Adjusted-Expected Goals For % SA-Expected Goals Relative % Goals For % PDO
48.24% -1.96% -2.20% 51.33% 1.28% 55.81% 101.78

After a slow start, and a quick transition into facing the league’s top competition on the Flyers’ top line, Konecny’s season averages come up respectable enough. His CF figures aren’t stellar but don’t put him underwater against the tougher competition, and he posted some pretty nice expected goal numbers, performing both above the level of the league average and his teammates’ average. While we worried in the earlier part of the season that he might not be putting himself in the best position to capitalize on the number of chances he was creating, we can not put those to rest. He’s working hard, and working smart. And the results speak for themselves.

Individual Stats

Points/60 Primary Points/60 Shot Attempts/60 Expected Goals/60
Points/60 Primary Points/60 Shot Attempts/60 Expected Goals/60
2.18 1.63 13.56 0.81

But speaking of working hard! These figures put him in the top three or five among his teammates in each of these metrics, so he’s helping to boost those already solid on-ice stats by being one of the Flyers’ biggest volume shooters. Dude is generating A TON of chances. And his shot’s getting better, and he’s better positioning himself for higher quality chances. Do you see where we’re going with this? There’s a reason he was scoring at such a serious clip, all without top power play time. He’s putting in a ton of work, and that’s what we like to see.

And, you know, he can also do things like this:

Okay, maybe that wasn’t a great segue, let me live. I just wanted to find an excuse to put that gif in here. It’s an absolute masterpiece. Watch it again before we move on.

Three Burning Questions

Did this player live up to our expectations for this season?

You know, it’s funny how quickly this answer changed. If you had asked around the middle of the season, it would’ve been a pretty hard “no.” When we talked at the midpoint of the season, Konecny was on pace to score 29.29 points after a slow start, below his rookie year totals when he played less than the full season, and well below our pre-season estimate of 37.5 points.

But after his promotion to the top line at the end of December? Well, the answer would still be “no,” but this time we would attach the stipulation “because he’s exceeded them.” He took his new role in stride and turned a 29.29 points pace into 48. And he did it overwhelmingly at 5-on-5.

Indeed, through his last 46 games of the season, since he was moved up to the top line, his 2.93 points/60 and 1.56 goals/60 put him not only tops on his team, but comfortably in the upper echelon across the league.

No, really. Among 488 forwards who had played 400 or more minutes, Konecny ranked eighth in P/60, and third in G/60 at 5-on-5, right alongside the likes of players like Brad Marchand (ew), Auston Matthews, and Connor McDavid, and well above some guy named Taylor Hall. Yep, that’s right. Through the back half of the season, Konecny was producing right alongside the likes of the player who would win the Hart. An MVP caliber end of the season. And, it would be easy to run crazy with this, let it make our hopes for next season skyrocket, and do so perhaps unfairly, but still, it remains a nice little factoid to hold onto.

(But also, Travis Konecny for Hart 2k19. Thanks)

We’re getting a little mushy in here, I know. The numbers section was supposed to be up there, I know. It’s a lot of good stuff, you get it. But it’s also kind of impossible to overstate just how good Konecny was through the end of the season.

You know?

Okay.

Go watch that gif again.

What do we expect from this player next season?

The short answer? Even more. We can expect that he should be back on the top line with Giroux and Couturier to start the season (because this line worked so well, and you’d be insane not to want to reassemble it), and with even more forward talent coming, power play two should start to produce at least a little more than the nothing it has been over the past couple of seasons. So Konency is in position to do some of his best work, and to benefit from playing alongside top-end talent. The possibilities are very exciting.

What would we like to see this player improve on?

We could get very intense and effusive and just start going on about how we want more! Of everything! He’s putting in all this good work and getting some nice results and we want to see it pushed a little more, and a full season’s worth of it! That would be true, we’d like to see him take another step forward, still, but we’ll reign it in a little bit.

If we were to get a little more precise, we could say we’d also like to see his defensive side come along more. Between even the start of the season and its midpoint, we saw Konecny making strides in his defensive game, and while part of this can be attributed to the other side also coming along, good offense making for good defense and all that, but the actual defensive work can’t be ignored. And while they serve as a nice little fail safe if he does make a lapse, we saw him learning from Giroux and Couturier along the way. We just need that to continue.