Flyers

Happy but hungry, Brayden Schenn hopes for long-term deal with Flyers

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Happy but hungry, Brayden Schenn hopes for long-term deal with Flyers

VOORHEES, N.J. — Coming off the best season of his NHL career, Brayden Schenn sat down at his end-of-the-year press conference on Tuesday and wasn’t all smiles.

For one, he was waiting to hear back from the NHL’s Department of Player of Safety about a hit he delivered on T.J. Oshie in the Flyers’ season-ending Game 6 loss to the Capitals on Sunday in their best-of-seven first-round playoff series. He ended up getting suspended three games (see story).

And secondly, his season just finished earlier than an NHLer ever wants.

So Schenn wasn’t celebrating anything, even with a payday on the horizon this summer.

The 24-year-old believes there are bigger things in store, that the 2015-16 season was just the start.

“I think I’ve come a long way and I still feel like I can get better and will get better,” Schenn said. “I finally felt this year like I had to be one of our go-to guys or one of the guys who tried to get the job done each night. I think that’s part of the reason guys like [Wayne Simmonds, Jakub Voracek or Claude Giroux] try to hold me accountable each night to perform and be good out there.”

Schenn set career highs across the stat sheet with 26 goals, 33 assists, 59 points and 11 power-play tallies. He also took his game to another level in physicality, finishing fourth on the Flyers with 187 hits but accruing just 33 penalty minutes, compared to the team’s top three hitters, Radko Gudas, Ryan White and Simmonds, all of whom compiled 100-plus penalty minutes apiece.

In one season, Schenn became better, tougher and smarter.

He’s set to be a restricted free agent this offseason. He’s staying put, but where is locking up Schenn on Flyers general manager Ron Hextall’s offseason agenda?

"You know what, I've got a lot of things on my to-do list,” Hextall said Wednesday. “I don't have it done, but I've got a lot of things on it and sometimes those things take time. I venture to guess that it's not going to be the first thing we get done, but in the end, we'll get it done."

Schenn, who is coming off a two-year, $5 million deal, sees his future with the Flyers.

“You want to be here long term,” Schenn said. “I believe in this team. I believe in the guys in that locker room. I guess we’ll see what happens, see how it plays out. I’ve been here for, jeez, five years now. If they want to go long term with me, obviously I want to be a part of this team.”

Hextall cautioned that much goes into a long-term commitment.

"There's a lot of factors that come into play with term, money, cap,” Hextall said. “So I can't make a blanket comment right now and say that we'll sign Brayden to a long-term deal. I would certainly be open to it, but I have no idea right now where that's headed."

Not to his preference, Schenn said negotiations were put off until the conclusion of the Flyers’ 2015-16 season. Ironically, the former first-round pick flipped that into his favor.

The discussions now revolve around a career season.

"I’ve said it all along: it wasn’t my idea that there hasn’t been talk since Day 1 of the season," Schenn said. "I guess that’s what the summer is for and I guess we’ll see what happens after that."

Also working for Schenn is his versatility. A natural center, Schenn adeptly played all three forward positions at a high clip, helping the Flyers adjust to a variety of injuries that affected their lineup.

“I think Brayden played his best hockey for us this year as a winger,” Flyers head coach Dave Hakstol said. “He’s pretty efficient playing both left and right wing. I thought he was outstanding here down the stretch on the left side. I think he elevated his game in the playoffs when he needed to at both positions but probably played his best hockey at the left wing.”

Schenn said he believes he’ll start next season as a winger.

“It’s valuable for me to play both wing and center,” he said. “It’s valuable to the team and I think I did a good job of both this year.”

Mostly, he just wants to be with the Flyers — and long term.

“I think moving forward, if you look at what’s coming up and what we did this year and we were able to get into the playoffs and battle,” he said. “For a lot of guys on this team, including myself, to feel that playoff rush, I think next year will even be better.

“A good start would go a long way and, I think year by year, you’re going to see a better Flyers team."

Why Flyers fans should be hopeful about post-NHL All-Star break playoff chances

Why Flyers fans should be hopeful about post-NHL All-Star break playoff chances

Today, we break down why Flyers fans should be hopeful for the post-All-Star break stretch. On Sunday, we’ll look at the reasons for concern.

Through 50 games, the Flyers have done two important things. They’ve played well within the division and have dominated at home. 

Those two trends bode well for after the All-Star break because divisional games become much bigger and confidence at home is paramount as the pressure builds.

The Flyers are 17-4-4 at home and 9-2-3 against Metropolitan foes. The marks are notable given the Flyers fell sorely short in those areas last season, when they finished 19-18-4 at home and 10-16-2 in divisional play.

Another positive is the Flyers are getting healthier after the break. Shayne Gostisbehere (knee) could be back Friday in the Flyers’ first game out of the bye week, while Carter Hart (abdominal strain) is expected to return not long after.

But what might be the Flyers’ most convincing piece of evidence for optimism is how they’ve performed against the NHL’s best teams. The Flyers have shown they can play with any club, which is huge for their own belief moving forward.

The Flyers are 11th in the NHL standings at 27-17-6. They've gone 9-5-3 against the top-10 teams and 5-1-1 vs. the top four.

Head coach Alain Vigneault has a history of taking teams to the playoffs, and doing so in Year 1 on the job. At his previous three stops (Canadiens, Canucks, Rangers), each of his first seasons produced playoff bids and at least one series victory.

Vigneault’s track record will be tested over the Flyers’ final 32 games.

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2020 NHL All-Star Skills: Travis Konecny finishes 7th in fastest skater; Mathew Barzal beats Connor McDavid

2020 NHL All-Star Skills: Travis Konecny finishes 7th in fastest skater; Mathew Barzal beats Connor McDavid

Travis Konecny went toe to toe with familiar faces in the 2020 NHL All-Star Skills Friday night.

Among the eight-player field for the fastest skater event, four players were from the 2015 draft class.

Konecny went 24th overall to the Flyers and Mathew Barzal No. 16 to the Islanders, while Connor McDavid was selected No. 1 by the Oilers followed by Jack Eichel at No. 2 to the Sabres.

The first-time All-Star Konecny couldn't take down McDavid, but the competition's three-time reigning champ was dethroned by Barzal at Enterprise Center in St. Louis.

Konecny had fun in the event and scored during the goalie competition.

Right at the start line, I could see my parents, brother and girlfriend, so that was pretty cool — they were right there," Konecny said Friday, via Flyers senior director of public relations and communications Zack Hill. "I was just having fun with them, they're enjoying it just as much as I was. We had a little moment after I finished my lap and I think I was near the bottom, they're laughing and I was laughing. It was over with and I could enjoy the rest of the night.

Barzal took the crown with a time of 13.175 seconds, just ahead of McDavid.

1. Mathew Barzal, Islanders — 13.175
2. Connor McDavid, Oilers — 13.215
3. Chris Kreider, Rangers — 13.509 
4. Jack Eichel, Sabres — 13.540
5. Nathan MacKinnon, Avalanche — 13.895
6. Anthony Duclair, Senators — 14.005
7. Travis Konecny, Flyers — 14.113
8. Quinn Hughes, Canucks — 14.263

Konecny will compete for the Metropolitan Division in the All-Star Game Saturday at 8 p.m. ET on NBC, which you can live stream right here.

Here are more sights and scenes from Konecny's All-Star weekend:

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