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December 30, 2016

Hakstol benches Konecny for Flyers game against Sharks

Just like Shayne Gostisbehere, Travis Konecny is one of the Flyers’ brightest young stars. And just like Ghost, Dave Hastol is banishing Konecny to the press box for at least a game.

Konecny will watch Thursday night’s game from the press box at The Shark Tank in San Jose. Michael Raffl, returning from a lower-body injury, will take his spot while Boyd Gordon replaces Roman Lyubimov on the fourth line.

According to CSN’s Tim Panaccio, Hakstol wants Konecny to improve his play without the puck:

“[Konecny] will continue learning, continue growing, continue to develop. He’ll watch the game and continue to learn and get better. He’s been a good worker and I addressed it a week to 10 days ago.

“He continues to be very confident. Doing a lot of good things for us. It’s a good night for him to take a step back and watch the game from up top.”

Konecny is in the middle of a major goal-scoring drought (22 games), but the 19-year-old is one of the Orange and Black’s best play drivers at 5v5. He’s also coming off a two-assist game in St. Louis, which included this pretty tic-tac-toe play that Wayne Simmonds finished off:

Regardless of what happens in San Jose, the Flyers simply can’t afford to keep the rookie winger out of the lineup for an extended period of time.

Follow Rich on Twitter: @rich_hofmann