Perhaps you’ve heard, training camp is happening and Travis Konecny does not have a contract. This is a thing that is happening. And it’s not as though we’re still stuck in this impasse period where absolutely no RFAs are signing. Things are starting to move and the market is being further set, but there’s still nothing on Konecny.
Here’s what we know:
Ivan Provorov signed a six year extension on Thursday (or Friday, that’s when the team announced it), running an AAV of $6.75 million.
This leaves the Flyers with precisely $6,667,421 in projected cap space for next season.
A handful of RFA forwards have signed extensions already, and a couple of those that we might use as comparables for Konecny (who, as a refresher, played 82 games and recorded 49 points last season) and/or notes on what the market is doing are:
Jakub Vrana (2018-19 82 GP, 47 P): 2 years, $3,350,000 million AAV
Kevin Fiala (83 GP, 39 P): 2 years, $3 million AAV
Mitch Marner (82 GP, 94 P): 6 years, $10,893,000 AAV
And that, in short, is weird. It’s all weird, at least as it relates to Konecny. Because Vrana’s last season is extremely comparable to Konecny’s, but for some reason, perhaps because he’s looking for longer term, the salary isn’t a perfect comparable. The same is true of Fiala, the scoring numbers are relatively close, but the term may not be the same.
And then there’s that massive Marner extension. It’s the one we’ve all been waiting for, in a way, because it was supposed to be the one that sets the market for the rest of the RFAs. But, does it?
It’s conceivable that players like Vrana and Fiala would be making slightly less per year if they had signed longer term deals (just because that’s what we’ve come to expect from bridge deals). And while it’s a big difference between 47 points and 94 points, the difference between a $3,350,000 cap hit and a $10,893,000 cap hit is even more substantial, the jump sharper.
And there’s something to be said for needing to pay your stars. We know about that. And as such, we don’t exactly expect that, if we were to make a graph of points scored relative to cap hit, that that curve would be linear. But that curve up to the Marner point would be really, really sharp.
So what does that do? Potentially, it pulls up what the rest of the unsigned RFA forwards “should” be making, if teams and agents are working relative to that, even if the player in question isn’t necessarily in the same tier as Marner, per se.
And this is exactly the case with Konecny. Because of the difference in their histories, we wouldn’t call Marner a very good comparable to Konecny. But the thing is that, with every new piece of data added to the mix, if you will, the market changes. And the Marner contract may well now be ammunition for agents to say “well this is the market now. Everybody’s getting paid more so pay us more.”
Is this right? Probably not. We still have that pesky salary cap, and teams can’t be letting contract growth exceed what the cap will allow them to sign. Even if we’re moving in the direction of young players being paid more for their contributions, teams may not all be in the position to be able to hand out those contracts.
And should this affect the Konecny contract negotiations? In a perfect world, it shouldn’t weigh too heavily on them, but this isn’t a perfect world. Agents will take whatever ammunition they can get, and if this means that they have a chance to demand more for their client, they’re going to jump at it.
Because even if it isn’t a direct comparable, should we expect that this contract is influencing player asks and the market, it may well mean that a resolution to this Konecny situation may be even farther from reach.
All stats via Capfriendly.