The 24th overall pick in the 2015 NHL Entry Draft came alive during his sophomore season and will only keep on improving for the Philadelphia Flyers.
Travis Konecny avoided the “sophomore slump” in a big way last season for the Philadelphia Flyers, to say the least. After an up-and-down rookie campaign that saw him receive several healthy scratchings from Dave Hakstol, Konecny found his game this season.
Konecny posted 47 points (24 Goals, 23 Assists) last season after scoring a mere 28 the year prior in just 11 more games played. He more than doubled his goal total, improving from 11 in the 2016-17 season to 24 in 2017-18.
Also, Konecny improved his shooting percentage by 5.3 percent, which obviously showed in his goal total last year.
Konecny’s second year improvements weren’t just on the offensive side of the puck, either, as he showed the willingness to block shots more this past season. When comparing the 53 blocked shots last season to the 26 from his rookie campaign, this doesn’t just show that Konecny is becoming a more willing defender, but that he’s listening to what the coaching staff wants him to do.
General manager Ron Hextall and company have long preached the importance of two-way hockey, and even though shot-blocking doesn’t always prove that a player can defend well, it shows that at least Konecny is giving the effort.
It should also be noted that Konecny attributed more goals for the team than against last year. Konecny’s oiGF, Goals For while On-Ice at Even Strength, was at 62 compared to his oiGA, Goals Against while On-Ice at Even Strength, which was 43.
What this means is that the Flyers were scoring more than getting scored on with TK on the ice. Comparing these numbers to his rookie season, Konecny’s oiGA only raised by four goals in 2017-18 with playing 11 more games and 49 more seconds of TOI.
This could show that Konecny really did improve some aspects of his defensive game, that his offensive game was just that good last year, or it could be a little bit of both too.
Konecny had some highlight reel goals last year, as well. He deke’d his way through two Boston Bruins players, one of whom was Patrice Bergeron, for this goal in April 2018. There was also this beauty of a overtime winner against the Washington Capitals in Jan. 2018.
On both occasions, Konecny showed confidence on these plays, something he didn’t show a lot of in 2016-17.
Some fans out there may have some concern over Konecny’s possession metics, though. His Corsi-For Percentage (CF percentage) was at 49.2 percent last season while his Fenwick-For (FF percentage) was at 50.2 percent.
One would expect the team to carry possession of the puck more with Konecny on the ice given his on-ice capabilities, but it’s worth noting that Konecny is still just 21-years-old. Given the improvements he made on his rookie season, I expect him to better this part of his game with time.
It’s been said enough that Konecny made huge strides last season. Looking forward to this upcoming season, there’s no reason why Konecny can’t improve even more.
Konecny should play 2nd or even 1st line minutes every night, and with more time on the ice comes more production.
The Flyers Top-6 is also looking pretty stacked on paper with the addition of James van Riemsdyk this offseason. Putting him with actual top level talent and not a player like Dale Weise should do nothing, but help him as well.
It isn’t just Konecny’s offensive skill set that will make him a star, but also the physicality he plays with, as never backs down from anybody. He also isn’t afraid to drop the gloves, as he showed in this fight against Capitals forward T.J. Oshie last season.
Konecny brings both the old and the new era of hockey together with his play. He’s small, speedy, scores, and brings physicality when needed, which you don’t always see from many players.
If Konecny keeps improving and developing as a player like he did on his rookie season, there’s no doubt in my mind he’ll start to be mentioned among the NHL’s best at his position this upcoming season. Hockey will be here before fans know it, and it’s exciting to see the Flyers have a young player on the rise in Konecny to be excited about.