With the 2019-20 NHL regular season likely over, we can fully evaluate individual players from the Philadelphia Flyers.
When the Flyers traded up to select Konecny in the first round of the 2015 NHL Draft, it was hard to envision what they might have expected him to become. He had tools, yes, but smallish wingers don’t drive the bus in the NHL the way that stud centermen or top-end defenseman do.
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The following year, as a 19-year old rookie, he held his own and played at a reasonable level, putting up 11 goals and 28 points in 70 games. He wasn’t setting the world on fire, not with 14:05 of ice time per game. But he was effective enough that you could see the signs of him potentially becoming a dynamic player.
Konecny made expected gains as a sophomore, tallying 24 goals and 47 points, and it set the table for what would hopefully be a big Year 3 in the NHL. But it didn’t happen, as Konecny basically replicated his same production and the team as a whole had a down year. The stagnation was a disappointment, but 2019-20 provided an opportunity for TK to take a big step forward.
And he did just that.
It all started when Konecny scored a pair of goals in the Flyers’ season-opening win in Prague against the Blackhawks (I know, that seems like eons ago), and he’s led the team’s goal-scoring charge ever since. In the end, he’ll actually finish with 24 goals on the nose for the third consecutive season. But when you consider that he did it this time in just 66 games, it’s an indication of definite progress.
Early on, Konecny got to ride shotgun with Sean Couturier, where he benefited greatly. But in recent weeks, he’s been on the ice more with the likes of Kevin Hayes and Scott Laughton. Maybe it’s not a coincidence that, whatever line TK finds himself on, it produces. And not only that, but he’s become a valuable contributor on the team’s top power play unit, where’s he’s notched 23 points this year to lead the club.
Konecny’s roll looked like it might have gotten halted when he suffered a concussion on a cheap hit in December that went unpenalized. But he’d only miss three games, thankfully suffering no long-term ill effects from it. He’s been rock solid ever since and has essentially become the player the Flyers pictured when they called his name out five years ago.