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Travis Konecny is officially back

Okay so he never left, but with how futile the Flyers have been for a while now it’s easy to forget how good Konency has been and what a special season he’s having inside the larger chaos and pain.

NHL: Columbus Blue Jackets at Philadelphia Flyers Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports

As of this writing the Philadelphia Flyers have less than a 1% chance to make the 2023 Stanley Cup playoffs, and that number would be a clean 0% if it wasn’t for Travis Konecny and Carter Hart.

Look no further than last night against the San Jose Sharks to see what we’re talking about here as Konecny delivered a dominant performance in the box score with two goals to help propel the Flyers to a much-needed win.

He also threw probably the Flyers hit of the season thus far, just a beauty of a hip check on the Sharks’ Alexander Barabanov.

Okay, alright it’s about damn time (thanks Lizzo)...to talk about the return of Travis Konecny — even though he never really left, we’ll explain.

A who’s back of the week is wild when talking about a player who has had three 20+ goal seasons in six years, let alone one that averaged .64 points per game in his career coming into the 2022-23 campaign.

But that’s where we got after TK’s, we’ll call it uneven, stretch the past few years from 2020-2021 through last season in which his goal scoring dropped to a near career low .21 per game — just barely inching past the production from his age-19 campaign way back in 2016-17.

Konecny was still dishing assists (.46 per game in those two seasons) but the dip in scoring became glaring given the Flyers’ overall scoring issues (15th overall in 2020-21 and 31st last season) as it became easy to point the finger at the former first-round pick with injuries to other established veterans mounting and eroding the club’s high-end NHL talent pool.

In hindsight there are some clear indicators as to why we should really have never been worried about Konecny returning to his high-production self because, well, he never really truly stopped producing — and a couple rather fluky factors contributed to the dip in overall goal scoring.

After averaging more than 17 goals per season at even strength since breaking into the NHL, TK somehow managed just seven total in 2020-21. Overall, the Flyers were bludgeoned at even strength to the tune of 24 more goals at 5-on-5 than league average — thanks in large part to a dreadful .903 save percentage compared to a .922 league average. A team Corsi For of 52% indicated that TK and the Flyers were probably a bit unlucky, but the results were what they were.

Last season provided another rather fluky number of 7.3%, or TK’s shooting percentage — a cool 5.5% lower than his career average prior. If we put TK’s career-high 220 shots on target from a year ago against his career shooting average he’s at that magic number of 25 goals...which would have given him four in seven season...pretty, pretty, pretty good.

Of course TK is leading the Flyers with 17 goals and 17 helpers through 30 games and is experiencing returns to his norms in both shooting percentage (a tick high at 17.3%) and even strength scoring dominance (already 12 goals) that plagued him in the past two seasons.

His performance last night against the Sharks was just another in what is becoming a terrific season for TK in an otherwise mind-numbing season for the Flyers. The ceiling on his current season his far higher than ever before — he’s currently on-pace for a career season and then some with current 82-game averages of 39 goals and 39 assists for 77 points that would easily eclipse his previous career-high of 61 points back in 2019-2020.

That’s not just “I’m back” stuff, that’s like “NHL all-star” stuff, folks — guy’s good.


Statistics via hockeyreference.com, NatrualStatTrick.com, ESPN.com, and NHL.com unless otherwise noted.

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