Flyers winger Travis Konecny has been very impressive in preseason action, so it’s time to reward him and give him a spot on the roster.
The Philadelphia Flyers have been fairly solid in preseason hockey, but all anyone can talk about is 19-year old winger Travis Konecny.
And why not? The kid seems like he was born to play the game of hockey. The 5-foot-10, 184 pound youngster has impressed just about everyone from GM Ron Hextall to coach Dave Hakstol. He is impossibly fast, shifty as hell with the puck and has a sense of the ice that some seasoned pros never achieve.
On Monday, Konecny played on Claude Giroux’s line with Brayden Schenn and by all accounts held his own pretty well. He scored a power-play goal in the team’s 4-3 overtime win against the New York Rangers. The goal gave him four points in four games, which is the best on the team thus far.
Konecny can obviously play the game and sending him back down to his junior club, the Sarnia Sting, at this point would simply be a waste of talent.
Yes, Konecny still has a lot to learn about the game at the pro level. He desperately need to put on some more muscle and his defensive game is still a work in progress. But that being said, he is still one of the best talents the Flyers have seen this preseason.
Sure, sending him back to his junior team will give him a chance to learn and develop more, but why not let him learn while keeping him with the big club? It’s not like the Flyers will be hoisting a Stanley Cup this season anyway, that is still a few years away. Why not allow Konecny to work with coach Hakstol and the veterans? It seems to have worked wonders for Shayne Gostisbehere last season.
For his part Giroux, who has just returned to the team after playing in the World Cup of Hockey, seemed impressed with Konecny.
“He’s aggressive, competes. He is not scared of going to the net. He wins a lot of battles. He is definitely fun to play with.”
Sounds exactly like the kind of player the Flyers could use.
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With forward Scott Laughton and defenseman Brandon Manning both dealing with injuries and defenseman Sam Morin sent down to Lehigh Valley, there is definitely room for Konecny. If he plays well against the Rangers and Boston Bruins, both of which will effectively be playing their starting lineups, it would go a long way to showing upper management that he is ready.
And if Konecny does impress again, that should be all the answer Hextall needs.
The games start to count for real on October 14, when the Flyers open the season on the road against the Los Angeles Kings.
Whether Travis Konecny makes the trip with them is really up to him.