The Philadelphia Flyers were pleased when Travis Konecny, the 14th-ranked North American skater by Central Scouting, fell to the bottom of the first round of this year’s draft.
So pleased, in fact, that they flipped a pair of picks to move up to No. 24 to select him — a move that looks fairly shrewd in the early stages of the preseason.
“He’s fast,” Vincent Lecavalier told the Inquirer after Konecny scored in Monday’s exhibition win over the Isles. “He’s turning one way, turning the other way. I don’t know him that much, but on that one shift, I was just kind of watching him, mesmerized by what he was doing.
“Nobody could catch up. Kind of like [Tyler] Johnson in Tampa. He reminds me of him a little bit.”
Like Johnson, Konecny is on the smallish side — 5-foot-10, 175 pounds — and, like Johnson, was an absolute offensive machine in junior. In two seasons with OHL Ottawa, Konecny had 55 goals and 138 points in 123 games.
As for the Johnson comparison, Lecavalier knows of what he speaks. His final year in Tampa Bay (’13) coincided with Johnson’s NHL debut campaign; in fact, a Lecavalier injury late in the year paved the way for one of Johnson’s recalls from the AHL.
So the former Bolts captain’s opinion has merit.
Of course, we should probably tap the brakes on Konecny for a moment. He’s still only 18 years old and a major, major longshot to crack the Flyers roster this year.
But for now, Flyers GM Ron Hextall can be pleased his draft day deal seems to be a good one.
“He’s got the heart of a lion, and that’s huge for us,” Hextall said at the time. “I didn’t think we had a chance to get him, and we got a call and acted on it quick.”