Going into the 2022-2023 season, Philadelphia Flyers forward Travis Konecny needed to regain his scoring touch. During the previous two seasons, Konecny only netted 27 total goals. He tallied 52 points (16G, 32A) last season, but his shooting percentage was just 7% on 220 shots on goal.
Under the new guidance of John Tortorella, Konecny is returning to his old scoring habits and becoming a key player within the Flyers’ lineup.
A hot start
Konecny started the season off by scoring two goals in a 4-1 victory over the New Jersey Devils. Since opening night, there have only been four games where Konecny didn’t register a point.
He totaled ten points (3G, 7A) over his current seven-game point streak. He leads all Flyers players with 19 points (7G, 12A) through their 16 games. His shooting percentage is currently 12.7%, a major increase from last year. At his current rate, Konecny is projected to score 98 points (36G, 62A) in 82 games.
Konecny has 55 shots on goal and 96 total shot attempts. He’s shooting the puck more and is also finding the back of the net. He’s currently ranked fourth in the lineup with 19:56 time-on-ice and first regarding forwards.
Not only is Konecny playing a key role on offense during even-strength, but he’s also finding himself on the penalty kill.
Despite his hot start to the season, not everything has been sunshine and rainbows for the 25-year-old. In the third period against the San Jose Sharks on October 23rd, Konecny was benched for the entire third period.
Players were aware in training camp that Tortorella isn’t afraid to bench his skilled players. He’s done it everywhere he’s coached. After the game against the Sharks, Konecny was honest in his response to why he sat the entire final period:
“He’s been honest about that since day one of camp. Doesn’t matter who you are, you got to play the right way. If we weren’t doing the right things tonight, and I know I was out there for two goals. I had some mistakes tonight. It’s his decision.”Travis Konecny; 10/23/2022
Four days later against the Florida Panthers, Konecny responded to Tortorella’s decision through effort. The Flyers defeated the Panthers, 4-3, and Konecny tallied two assists:
“I wanted to respond the right way. It wasn’t a good effort from me the previous game, last two games actually. I wanted to make sure I was doing as much as I could to help the team tonight and just buying into doing the right things.”Travis Konecny; 10/27/2022
Since being benched, the only game Konecny didn’t register a point was against the New York Rangers.
A future leader?
Konecny has become a workhorse under Tortorella. His average ice time of 19:56 is the most of his career. His previous best average was during last season with 17:37. Konecny’s increase in minutes isn’t a fluke, he’s earned them:
“I just think he plays hard. Everything about TK is energy. He’s probably been our most consistent player to this point early on in the season. I think he understands how to practice, I still think we’re a ways away as far as the whole squad understanding how hard you have to practice. He’ll lead by example.”John Tortorella; 11/9/2022
Tortorella sees the energy that Konecny brings to the office every day. Along with energy and consistency, Tortorella also sees Konecny as a future part of a leadership group:
“I’m not sure if everyone’s ever asked him [Konecny] to be a leader. I’m not sure if he’s ever been put in positions to be a leader. As he keeps growing and we keep going about it here and situations arise, I watch that. If I brought a leadership group in, he’s gonna be part of that.”John Tortorella; 11/9/2022
Tortorella has mentioned previously that he’s in no rush to name a captain. While there are viable candidates for the role, the only player currently with a letter on their chest is Scott Laughton. Tortorella wants to figure out what his team is first and who will be a part of his future plans before deciding on the next captain.
With his words regarding Konecny, it’s a safe bet that Tortorella sees him in a Flyers sweater for the foreseeable future, not only as a key player, but also as a leader.
(AP Photo/Matt Slocum)