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May 30, 2024

Flyers thoughts: Is it the right call to keep Travis Konecny around long-term?

Travis Konecny has one year left on his current contract. He's in the prime of his career and can fit the Flyers' timeline, but a long-term extension isn't expected to come cheap.

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Travis-Konecny-Flyers-Canadiens-3.28.24-NHL.jpg David Kirouac/USA TODAY Sports

Travis Konecny is entering the final year of his contract with the Flyers.

Travis Konecny has one year left on his current deal, is lining up for a significant payday, and he knows it.

The Flyers like him both as a player and a maturing leader on and off the ice, and the preference seems to be that they want to keep him in the long-term picture as they continue to develop and build out the rest of the team. 

But they don't have to rush to do anything right now. Konecny won't be eligible to sign anything until July 1, when free agency begins and the calendar shifts into the next league year, which leaves the situation in a bit of a holding pattern with the only real thing to wonder about for now being what that new number is going to look like. 

Now, there's always the possibility of some sort of blockbuster trade offer coming through, and buzz around the idea of top prospect Matvei Michkov coming over from Russia ahead of schedule threw a speculative wrench into the Flyers' outlook recently, especially since the team is already loaded at wing both on the depth chart and in the pipeline. But still, the likelihood as it stands right now is that Konecny will remain a Flyer rather than be somewhere else.

It's just what is it going to cost GM Danny Brière and co. to keep him here and would that number be worth it?

Off the bat, the salary cap is going up to $87.7 million this year (a $4.2 million increase over last) and is expected to keep rising down the line, even if incrementally, which means total salaries and annual cap hits are going to go up, too, just as a byproduct of that. Additionally, Konecny signed his current six-year, $33 million deal (at a cap hit of $5.5 million per) just ahead of the 2019-2020 season, when he was a developing 22-year old and more of a complementary piece to the old core of Claude Giroux and Jake Voracek. 

The outlook of the Flyers has shifted in the several years since, and Konecny has grown into a much better player, as well as one that has shouldered much more responsibility in between Giroux being traded away as the captain and John Tortorella taking over as the head coach soon after

He's been a 30-30 scorer the past two years, even through injury, and has not only skated heavier minutes in the Flyers' top six (an average of 20:07 in 22-23 and 19:50 in 23-24) but has noticeably been an impact player on the ice offensively, often seen blazing up the wall with the puck after gaining possession – and that's not even to mention all the jumps he got on the penalty kill this past season that he converted into six shorthanded goals. 

Tortorella has praised Konecny's reactive and improvising playstyle repeatedly, and he stands right now as one of the best offensive talents on a Flyers roster that doesn't exactly have many truly great ones – yet. Plus, he's 27 and only just entered the prime of his career. His best hockey is expected to still be ahead of him, which should fit the Flyers' timeline, and if he's in any way of the mold of Boston's Brad Marchand or Vegas' Jonathan Marchessault, then that could very well carry into his 30s all while he becomes a greater and greater locker room presence.

Konecny is valuable to the Flyers, and it's going to cost them to keep him, which may result in a salary and term that is going to make fans uneasy at face value, but again, the cap is going up, which means the standard rate is going to change (i.e. increase). 

Anthony Di Marco over at The Fourth Period has heard that the Flyers are looking for the low-mid $8 million range while Konecny's camp could be shooting for the moon at more than $10 million annually at the eight-year max.

The probability is that the deal to be struck is somewhere in between, maybe scraping or even hitting the $9 million mark.

It's still a lot, but it would be a gamble on Konecny having much more to his game that would help the Flyers that much more down the line. 

Forwards | Defensemen | Goaltenders

Still skating

Oliver Bonk, Denver Barkey, and the junior-league London Knights tore right through everyone on the way to the OHL title, and just kept rolling straight on through the CHL's Memorial Cup in Saginaw, sweeping the field in the four-team round-robin phase to punch a ticket straight to the final on Sunday.

Barkey, one of the Flyers' third-round picks from last summer, for the lead against the host Spirit (also of the OHL) in the second period on Wednesday night:

And Bonk, the Flyers' defensive prospect taken at 22nd overall, during Saturday's 4-0 shutout of the QMJHL's Drummondville Voltigeurs:

Letting it fly.

Bonk and Barkey are each at four points (each with a goal and three assists) for the junior season's last tournament, and this after the two 19-year old Flyers prospects were heavy contributors to a dominant London team loaded with future NHL talent. 

Barkey led the Knights with 102 points in the regular season and then tallied 27 more in the postseason, while Bonk collected 67 points on the back end plus another 16 more in the playoffs, and as a unique power play specialist in the bumper

They're both expected to be a few years away still, but they'll definitely have Flyers fans' attention until then. 

Flyers thoughts: What happens if Matvei Michkov does come over?

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