Konecny joins Hart as an untouchable on the Flyers’ roster

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Flyers' Travis Konecny
Philadelphia Flyers’ Travis Konecny, center, celebrates with Tony DeAngelo, right, and Nick Seeler after an NHL hockey game against the Washington Capitals, Wednesday, Jan. 11, 2023, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)
(AP Photo/Matt Slocum)

Two months ago, Carter Hart would’ve been the only untouchable player at the 2023 NHL Trade Deadline on the Philadelphia Flyers roster.

The Flyers were in a funk. A ten-game losing streak before anyone declared the team was in a rebuild. Saying Hart is untouchable at the trade deadline was correct a month ago, and it holds today.

He isn’t exclusive to the category.

There are other methods of committing fully to a rebuild. A tank doesn’t help; the franchise wouldn’t gain a sense of direction while not understanding what works in the lineup. Trading every valuable player becomes overkill; a thirst for making a trade to get high-end talent while organic, high-end talent buys into a new system and ignites. If the rumblings from Elliotte Friedman hit the mark, Ivan Provorov could be credible trade bait at the 2023 NHL Trade Deadline, helping the rebuild assets or fulfilling a team need.

“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

Travis Konecny shouldn’t be. Over the last two seasons, Konecny landed on lists as valuable trade bait. He will again, and the same goes for Kevin Hayes. For the former, it’s time to rethink the desire to trade. Konecny, like Hart, is untouchable.

Remember when John Tortorella announced he wouldn’t name alternates or a captain this season? A trail of breadcrumbs followed, beginning with Scott Laughton sporting the only patch in the lineup. Tortorella also had this to say about Konecny:

“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

That’s a good vote of confidence toward the next captaincy.

At the ‘footers’ of a rebuild, as Tortorella might say, Konecny is forming his best NHL season. A hat trick on Wednesday versus the Washington Capitals tied his career high in goals scored for a season in just 36 games.

Buying into this rebuild is huge. Consider the numbers Konecny could produce if Sean Couturier and Cam Atkinson were healthy and in the lineup. Then, there are young prospects like Tyson Foerster and Cutter Gauthier. This trade wouldn’t help the rebuild. Frankly, with Tortorella at the helm, trading Konecny would do more to delay it.

“He’s [Konecny] engaged. Some of our young guys can learn off that, and some of our old guys can learn off of that; how things push away when you stay engaged. He’s engaged when things are going wrong, too. He still stays with it. He doesn’t mope. He keeps it at the same level as far as energy.”

John Tortorella; 1/13/2023

Konecny is as valuable as he’s ever been. His contract, at $5.5mil/AAV over the next two seasons, is team-friendly in a cap-strapped organization. He is the high-end scorer most would be salivating over. An unnecessary trade by the Flyers would be another bullet shooting at the toes. Hart was the backbone of the 7-3-2 start, and Konecny is the surge behind the recent 8-4-0 run following a losing streak that belongs in 2021-2022.

(AP Photo/Matt Slocum)