Flyers

Travis Konecny, Flyers agree to new 6-year contract

Travis Konecny, Flyers agree to new 6-year contract

The Travis Konecny drama is over.

The Flyers on Monday agreed to terms on a six-year, $33 million ($5.5 million AAV) deal with Konecny.

"We are happy to have Travis under contract for the next six seasons," Flyers general manager Chuck Fletcher said in a statement released by the team. "Travis has shown progression in each of his three seasons and is an integral part of our group of young forwards. His speed, skill and tenacity sets him apart in today's NHL."

Konecny was a restricted free agent and missed the first three days of training camp. The Flyers open their preseason schedule Monday night and play four games in six days.

Fletcher wasn't kidding when he said negotiations can change quickly. At the start of camp Friday, a somewhat confounded Fletcher said the Flyers and Konecny's representation had "a ways to go" on finding a solution to a new deal, while head coach Alain Vigneault didn't hide his disappointment with the 22-year-old's absence from camp. He subtly reiterated that disappointment two days later.

But now all is well. It became clear that Konecny's camp wanted to go the route of a long-term deal rather than a bridge contract. The 2015 first-round pick put up back-to-back 24-goal seasons over the past two years and has seen his role fluctuate at times. Konecny has done most of his damage at even strength. Since 2017-18, he owns the same number of even strength goals (43) as Sidney Crosby and David Pastrnak, and has more than Artemi Panarin (42).

With greater responsibility, there's no reason Konecny can't turn into a 30-goal player.

"I'm really excited about signing with the Flyers and being able to call Philadelphia home for the next six years," Konecny said in the release. "I can't wait to get back with my teammates and to start a new relationship with the coaching staff. It's on me now to work hard and make up for the couple days I wasn't able to be here."

At a $5.5 million average annual value, it's an excellent deal for Konecny and a pretty good one for the Flyers, too. Konecny is only 22, entering his fourth NHL season and expected to make a bigger jump in production. If he performs, having him locked up through the 2024-25 season at a reasonable figure will be a major plus.

Think about it: Sean Couturier came into the league at 19 years old and didn't score more than 40 points until his seventh season when his role truly expanded.

Now the question becomes how quickly can Konecny catch up? He missed three important practices of training camp under a new head coach and two new assistant coaches.

Competition is currently ripe among the Flyers' group of forwards. Joel Farabee has impressed (even playing alongside Couturier and Claude Giroux) and others like Morgan Frost, German Rubtsov, Chris Stewart, Andy Andreoff, Kurtis Gabriel, Isaac Ratcliffe, Mikhail Vorobyev and Nicolas Aube-Kubel are vying for spots, as well.

If Nolan Patrick and Tyler Pitlick are healthy by the season opener (a big if), how does this sound for Oct. 4 in Prague, Czech Republic?

Claude Giroux-Sean Couturier-Travis Konecny
James van Riemsdyk-Kevin Hayes-Jakub Voracek
Oskar Lindblom-Nolan Patrick-Joel Farabee
Michael Raffl-Scott Laughton-Tyler Pitlick

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Flyers weren't kidding themselves about the process

Flyers weren't kidding themselves about the process

Maybe Alain Vigneault wanted to make a point.

That it’s not all about goals.

Philly is a results city and, ultimately, the NHL is a results business. But Vigneault firmly believes in the process behind the results. He will see past the goal tallies bolded in the box score — if the process is being grown and done right.

The Flyers’ head coach constantly refers to the process. It’s what matters most when he attempts to build a contender, especially in Year 1 with a new team.

The process, one would think, looked pretty good Monday night … right? 

Especially during a four-goal second period in which the Flyers blew open an eventual 6-2 win over the Golden Knights (see observations). After all, the Flyers had scored only four goals over their past two games, both lopsided losses.

But Vigneault had other thoughts. He wasn’t about to forget the meaning of the process. He could have easily said the goals came because the Flyers stuck to it.

He didn’t go there.

“We had some puck luck in the second, found a way to score four and got outstanding goaltending,” Vigneault said. “In my mind, that could have been our least effective period in the last eight. But we found a way to win that period, 4-0. Sometimes it works out that way.”

Found a way to score four goals? A least-effective period of four goals?

The Flyers were outshot by Vegas in the middle stanza, 18-13. Brian Elliott came up with monstrous saves as the Flyers permitted some Grade A chances to a dangerous Western Conference team. After the past two losses, the Flyers had mentioned that they expected to be on the positive end of fortunate wins, too — as in that’s hockey, teams can get outplayed and still come away with victories.

The Flyers scored only one goal in the first period Monday but outshot the Golden Knights, 15-7, and really got after them in the offensive zone. The Flyers would take that opening frame over their second period just about every time.

“We thought we played better in the games that we lost,” Michael Raffl said. “We got away from it in the second period a little bit. We’ve got to keep doing what we do and it’s going to work. At the end of the day, when you work like that and keep outshooting opponents, you’ll be on the better end of the game at the end most of the time.”

The Flyers had to practically defend themselves following back-to-back losses by a combined score of 10-4. The Flyers outshot the opposition, 91-38, but uneven defeats don’t sit well with fans, especially ones that have become accustomed to mediocre Octobers.

“Last two games, I know we didn't have the result we wanted, we lost both games, but if you really look into the game, if you understand the game, you understand that we played great games,” Claude Giroux said after morning skate Monday.

The Flyers were OK admitting that they didn’t play their best game against Vegas.

Especially Vigneault.

He’ll be honest about the process — good or bad, no matter what the final score.

“In the second period, we scored four but I really believe that in our last eight periods, it could have been our least effective as far as going north-south a little bit quick, our puck management, making the right plays at the right time,” Vigneault said. “But when we didn’t do it the right way, we got big saves and when they made a mistake in that second period, we were able to make them pay, which we hadn’t been able to do for quite some time.”

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How's that for a breakthrough? Flyers catch fire and beat Golden Knights to snap losing streak

How's that for a breakthrough? Flyers catch fire and beat Golden Knights to snap losing streak

BOX SCORE 

The Flyers felt they had dominated their last two games.

The scoreboard said otherwise.

On Monday night, the Flyers quashed the debate by ripping off five goals through the first two periods en route to an emphatic 6-2 win over the Golden Knights at the Wells Fargo Center.

The victory for the Flyers (3-3-1) put a four-game losing streak to bed as Travis Konecny, Kevin Hayes, Michael Raffl (two), Matt Niskanen and Oskar Lindblom all scored.

The Golden Knights (6-4-0) were coming off a shutout of the Penguins and their penalty kill was 33 for 35 on the season.

The Flyers impressively put up a six-spot on Vegas with two of the goals coming on the man advantage.

• Alain Vigneault’s team made a statement in the second period with four goals. Quite frankly, it needed to make a statement. Winning the shot battle is not a statement — putting up crooked numbers, though, speaks volumes (see story).

The Flyers had scored seven combined goals through the first and second periods this season. They weren’t giving up a ton, but they weren’t capitalizing, either.

This time, the Flyers did, and against a pretty good Western Conference contender.

Now it’s a matter of producing consistently.

• Let’s not forget how good Brian Elliott was against the Golden Knights. He converted big saves, many of which came before the score turned lopsided.

After the Flyers had yielded 10 goals in their previous two games, the 34-year-old picked up 33 stops. He has 76 saves on 81 shots in three career matchups with Vegas.

He could get the next game in Chicago.

Golden Knights backup Oscar Dansk had a rough outing.

• Joel Farabee, the 14th overall pick in the 2018 draft, made his anticipated NHL debut just five games into his pro career.

Last Saturday, Farabee’s mother, grandmother and older brother traveled from Cicero, New York (right outside of Syracuse) to watch his game at AHL affiliate Lehigh Valley.

His mother Pam was back on the road Monday with Farabee’s father Dave to watch their son’s first NHL game at the Wells Fargo Center.

Farabee, a skilled and strategic goal-scoring winger, didn’t score but exhibited his sharp reads and angles to the puck. He gives the Flyers a flashy skill in the bottom six, a type of player who can make a play out of nothing.

• There has been no slowing down Konecny and Lindblom, who have been the Flyers’ two best players. The Flyers have desperately needed some of their promising youth to take big steps. So far, so good from the 22-year-old Konecny and 23-year-old Lindblom.

Konecny has 10 points (four goals, six assists) in seven games.

For some perspective on his start, the Flames’ Johnny Gaudreau has eight points (three goals, five assists) in 10 games so far.

With his two-point effort, Lindblom has four goals and six points in seven games. Last season, he scored four goals in his first 45 games. The Flyers have put Lindblom in a position that suits him well and he’s taking advantage of it.

• The Flyers’ defensemen were strong and a combined plus-6.

• The unsung Raffl notched his first two-goal game since March 15, 2016.

• Four of the Flyers’ next five games are on the road.

To begin the stretch, the Flyers visit the Blackhawks on Thursday (8:30 p.m. ET/NBCSP).

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