If Travis Konecny doesn’t make the Flyers to start the regular season, it won’t be for a lack of opportunity.
Konecny, the 24th overall pick at the 2015 draft, has been gifted the chance to play alongside some of Philly’s top forwards during the preseason — Brayden Schenn, Jakub Voracek, Sean Couturier, Michael Raffl — and has fared well, impressing a number of onlookers.
Konecny, 19, is familiar with showing well during the exhibition campaign. He basically did the same at Flyers training camp last year, earning equally high praise from former Philly center Vincent Lecavalier.
“He’s fast,” Lecavaier said of the 5-foot-10, 175-pound Konecny. “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.”
Though he played very well for the Flyers’ brass last year, Konecny — then just 18 years old — was returned to OHL Sarnia and was strong, scoring 56 points in 31 games. He also racked up a pair of points for Canada at the World Juniors.
But for all the good Konecny’s done, he still looks like he’s on the outside of the opening night roster.
The Flyers are pretty deep at forward and there just aren’t a ton of spots available, and it’s tough to envision a scenario where GM Ron Hextall opts to keep Konecny playing limited minutes (or games) at the NHL level, rather than have him playing regularly in junior.
Hextall could, however, keep Konecny up for a nine-game cameo to start the year, before making the decision to send him home.
This is similar to what the club did back in 2013 with former first-rounder Scott Laughton, though it’s important to remember that Paul Holmgren was the GM at that time, not Hextall.