The inactivity of the Philadelphia Flyers at the NHL trade deadline has been well-covered and discussed at length, but now they appear to be kicking the can down the road.
According to some reports, the team is expected to be more active around the upcoming 2023 NHL Entry Draft this summer, potentially shipping off some more key players on this team as the management group starts to realize that they won’t be a good team in the near future. Well, one of those names that has popped up as a possibility to be moved is Travis Konecny.
The Athletic’s Pierre Lebrun speculated such in his recent article going through the significant players that were not moved at the deadline.
The 25-year-old forward had 27 goals and 54 points in 52 games this season before getting injured. He’s got two more years on his deal at a $5.5 million AAV, a bargain even in the flat cap world. Because of that value, my expectation is that the Flyers will listen on him ahead of the draft in Nashville to see how the market responds. Given the return on Timo Meier, why not? — The Athletic
As Lebrun mentions, Konecny is a perfect fit on a whole lot of cap-strapped Stanley Cup contenders. On terrible Flyers teams, he has put up 106 total points through his last two seasons — only 24 of those points were made on the power play — but plays like a player that every team wants.
He has the skills of a top-line winger but with tenacity of someone you find on the fourth line of a team from over a decade ago. That blend of talent and attitude is almost every single good team’s wet dream for a player to add. And as a bonus, he’s under contract for two more years at a very respectable cap hit and is just 25 years old so there is the potential to keep him around beyond that if the right team comes around.
Considering the Flyers are not going to be competitive at all during those two years, maybe the time to move him is this summer, and it’s starting to become more of a reality. Hell, it almost happened just last week.
Lebrun sneaks in within the two paragraphs that he wrote about Konecny, that he was made aware of one team wanting to acquire the winger earlier this season, but stopped the pursuit after Konecny suffered his recent injury that could keep him out for the remainder of the regular season (of course, we have not received any information if he’s returning or not).
It doesn’t mean the Flyers have to trade Konecny, but they should at least know what the market is. I know of at least one contender that was planning on making an aggressive trade offer before the trade deadline but backed off once he got injured. Konecny could fetch the kind of assets the Flyers really need at this point. — The Athletic
With the inactivity around the trade deadline, it is hard to imagine Chuck Fletcher pulling off a successful mid-season Konecny trade, but crazier things have happened.
If — if — this happens, we should expect some teams going absolutely bananas to acquire a player like Konecny. Given the skill level, his age, and the security of his contract, almost every serious team should be interested in the player. From some teams wanting to get better fast with a young team like the Anaheim Ducks, to some contenders trying to stay relevant with the hockey legends they have on their roster like the Washington Capitals.
This trade should be handled with delicate care and could shape the future of this hockey club, so no pressure.