Flyers

It sure sounds like Dave Hakstol expects a much larger role for Travis Konecny in Year 2

We know Nolan Patrick will get every chance to make the Flyers come September.

Flyers head coach Dave Hakstol reaffirmed that Monday (see story).

The Brayden Schenn trade last Friday opened up an opportunity for Patrick to make the Flyers in his rookie season and, given all the signs, it would be a disappointment if he didn't.

But the biggest beneficiary of the Schenn trade may not be Patrick. Instead, it sure does sound like Hakstol is ready to anoint a 20-year-old to a much larger role in 2017-18.

"The obvious one that comes to mind is Travis Konecny," Hakstol told Zach Gelb of FOX Sports 920 The Jersey on Wednesday when asked who he expects to replace Schenn's production. "There are extra minutes available. I know that Travis is going to do the work over the summer. I know he's going to have himself at a high level of readiness and I know he's going to be hungry to assume a little bit more of those minutes and a little larger role.

"He's a guy who will step in and provide some of that as well."

Konecny cracked the Flyers' roster as a 19-year-old last season and found himself a victim of three benchings as well as being bounced around the lineup.

He began the year on a line with Sean Couturier and Jakub Voracek but that eventually broke up. He played mostly with Voracek (374:38) and Couturier (302:40) at 5-on-5 but also played a decent amount with Wayne Simmonds (277:20) and Schenn (250:20). He found himself on the fourth line at times and played very little during 3-on-3 overtime.

Despite the benchings, Konecny kept a positive attitude, something general manager Ron Hextall continually praised. After a benching during a game in New Jersey in April, he called it a "humbling" experience and said his teammates had helped him through the process.

"I would look at it a lot different," Konecny said April 4. "It's just that I have a lot to learn. I am a young player. Guys who are taking penalties and not getting benched have earned a lot of respect throughout the league. They earned their place on the team and that right to get second and third chances."

Konecny ended up with 11 goals and 28 points in 70 games last season. How Hakstol handled him last year was often a topic of debate among fans and the media, and a fair criticism.

It's still June and we're still a long way from training camp. A lot can change from now until then but by all early indications, it appears Hakstol and the Flyers are expecting a big jump from Konecny in Year 2.

To hear more from Hakstol on Patrick, Shayne Gostisbehere, Jordan Weal and more, you can listen to the full interview here.