Flashing back to the 2014-2015 season, the Craig Berube led Philadelphia Flyers were coming off of a lackluster season. After the rough season finishing sixth in the Metropolitan Division, the Flyers made a plethora of changes. Head coach Craig Berube was fired, so in came the uncoveted Dave Hakstol. Mix in some offseason moves, such as retaining Chris Pronger’s contract and picking up Michal Neuvirth.
As those moves sound far from promising, the 2015 draft was a bright point for Philadelphia. June 27, the first day of the draft, was a busy one for the Flyers. They selected defenseman Ivan Provorov with the seventh overall pick while also trading the 29th and 61st overall selection for the 24th in order to select forward Travis Konecny.
This was only the start of the future NHL all-star.
Travis Konecny, the prospect
Konecny’s success came early in his professional career. In fact, he was the first overall pick in the 2013 OHL draft, heading to Ottawa. Look how little our beloved TK was at his very first draft:
Travis Konecny got off to a hot start to his OHL career. He quickly jumped out to averaging a point per game through the first 33 games of the season (11 goals and 22 assists). Due to his success, Travis was named to Team Ontario for the World Under-17 Hockey Challenge. He also earned the title of team captain. Team Ontario would finish 5th in the tournament with Konecny scoring one goal and three assists in five games.
Again, he was carried by his consistent success. TK was invited to play for Team Canada at the Ivan Hlinka U18 tournament, a team featuring other future NHL players including Mitch Marner and Matt Barzal. Konecny was awarded the team’s captaincy and would lead his team to a gold medal, along with his six points in five games.
Travis Konecny’s days in the OHL would almost come to an end, as he declared for the NHL draft. He immediately became a first-round talent:
“Quick and spirited scoring forward, Konecny projects as a top six sniper who can play anywhere in the top nine. Despite being undersized, he plays with good physicality and won’t back down from highly contested areas. Konecny’s playing style resembles a player like Phil Kessel in the way that he can unleash a shot in mid-stride.”
Brendan Ross, Dobber Prospects
Travis Konecny somehow, someway slipped to pick #24 overall, and we’ll let Ron Hextall take this one away:
There he is, in that beautiful orange and black.
Konecny could not crack the Flyers lineup for the 2015-2016 season, returning him to the Ottawa 67’ers. Knowing he was NHL bound, he was packaged in a blockbuster trade, sending him to the Sarnia Sting that included four players and ten picks. Travis recorded 26 points in 31 games with Sarnia despite a shoulder injury.
During the 2015-2016 offseason, TK wowed the Flyers’ coaches and front office. He finessed his way onto the NHL roster, beating out the highly rated (at the time) German Rubtsov, rather than be sent back to Sarnia for another season.
At 5’10, 170 pounds, Konecny was, and still is a drastically undersized player for the NHL, similar to Danny Briere. However, he plays a big game and does not shy away from throwing hits, parking himself in front of the net or diving into the corner to fight for pucks.
At the age of 19, Konecny made a great impression early into his rookie season. Making his NHL debut on October 14th, 2016, TK surged to 12 points in his first 20 NHL games. To put the icing on the cake, he notched two helpers in his debut. Then six games later, he led the Flyers in a comeback win over Buffalo by scoring his first NHL goal on the powerplay.
He cooled off the rest of the season but managed to play in 70 games his rookie year. He scored 11 goals and picked up 17 assists en route to his 28 total points. Because of this, he earned himself a place on the roster ever since.
He continued to make an impact for the professional club. Through his next two seasons, TK put together a 47 point, and 49 point campaign. He played in every game during the 2017-2018 season and only missed a single game during 2018-2019.
What stands out the most for Konecny during his NHL career is how coachable he is. He flashed bits of his full potential during his first season and scrounged back-to-back 24 goal seasons. However, the latter of those seasons did not show anything extra on the stat sheet.
The good news, though? Travis was much more consistent during the ’18-’19 season. He was contributing from start to finish, rather than in pieces compared to his ’17-’18 season. His desire to become a better player at a mere 22 years old meshes with new coach Alain Vigneault’s style well. The mix of the two has allowed TK to leap into his break-out season and a top-line producer.
And most importantly, a 2019-2020 NHL all-star.
He has leadership qualities and could easily wear the “C” for the Flyers in the future. Sure, injuries have been a concern in his early career to date as a result of his size and aggressive style, but it is what makes him an effective player. In fact, he put those criticisms to bed, only missing four games since the start of the 2017 season (three being due to a concussion this season).
His charisma and work ethic on and off the ice has made him both a locker room and fan favorite quickly.
Meanwhile, let’s not forget his iconic chirping ability:
Travis Konecny holds a very bright future. After signing a six-year, $5.5 million contract extension this past offseason, the Flyers clearly see him a part of their future. Whether it be as a future captain of the Flyers, and/or perhaps a 30-40 goal scorer, TK will always be near and dear to fan’s hearts. He will continue to be a high-powered forward in the NHL.
And of course, with many all-star games to come.
Mandatory Credit – Alex McIntyre