Travis Konecny Is Back On the Star Path; Tortorella Sees Him On A Leader’s Path.
The list of Flyers experiencing truly resurgent seasons is not as long as their records might indicate it should be.
One of those players who has absolutely been revitalized this year is Travis Konecny.
With 5 goals in 12 games, he’s on a 35-goal pace to begin the season…and the numbers suggest this isn’t just a fluky hot streak.
His current 13.2% shooting is right in line with the number he posted in 2018-19 season. It falls below his season-long career high of 17% which he posted in the shortened 19-20 season. He has posted a shooting percentage above 13% in three full seasons in his NHL career.
As well as a 35 goal streak, he’s on a 95 point streak with 14 of them in these 12 games.
Now, the 95 point threshold is less achievable than the 35 goal mark. His on-ice shooting percentage–the shooting percentage of himself and his teammates with him–has been 14.8%.
That number is achievable over a full season if you’re Connor McDavid. Otherwise? Not so much. And since the Flyers aren’t replete with snipers surrounding him, it’s hard to believe that his teammates will shoot well enough for him to get enough assists to get to the 90 point mark.
But he put up 36 assists last year with a depressed on-ice shooting percentage of 8.5%, when it was 9.7% in the previous season. So, 40 assists is perfectly achievable.
If he keeps up his 35 goal pace and adds 40 assists, that’s a 75-point season on a team that is laughably void in offensive talent.
To put it simply, Travis Konecny is back on the star’s path.
And John Tortorella would, in a way, give us some insight into how this happened:
“I just think he plays hard. Everything about TK is energy. He’s probably been our most consistent player. I think he understands how to practice. I still think we’re a ways away as far as the whole squad understanding how you have to practice. He’ll lead by example.”
Konecny has drifted from his high-energy pace of play in recent seasons. I suspect–but cannot confirm–that his intensity in practice had waned along with it.
This is what Konecny looks like when he brings his full intensity, and his practice habits are as good as possible.
There are two things I notice when I watch Konecny this year, as compared to all of his previous years. The level of strength and the level of tenacity he has in these games is off the charts, compared to his previous seasons.
Despite his smaller than average stature, Konecny has shown a unique ability this year to protect pucks and to win pucks along the wall. Pair that a rekindled willingness to fight his way into the slot–where goals are scored–and it’s no wonder that he’s been scoring so regularly.
He’s intense. He’s relentless. He’s fast and strong and tenacious. And he’s always been skilled enough to make those traits into an extremely dangerous offensive force.
What I see with my eyes as I watch him on the ice, Torts sees with Travis’ personality off the ice at the current moment:
“I sometimes have to tone him down. And as I’ve said to you many times, I’d rather have a player that way. But I don’t want to tone him down too much, because I think that’s a big part of who he is.”
Travis Konecny has been revitalized.
At one time, I thought Konecny could become a true star in the league. His recent seasons would’ve made me hesitant to stand by that assessment.
But his play this year has reaffirmed my belief that there is a star in Konecny, and I don’t think his current level of play is as high as he can go.
The most interesting thing, however, is not his renewed capacity to be a star. Torts actually sees more than that.
He sees a burgeoning leader.
Now, before I go any further: Tortorella did not declare himself close to naming a Captain, or naming a full slate of Alternates.
Tortorella has said that the Flyers are a long way from declaring a Captain, despite the media’s insistence on having a letter embroidered on a jersey. And he echoed this sentiments in this very press gathering.
But despite that insistence on slowing down the clarion calls to name a Captain, he did have some very interesting remarks on Konecny and his suitability as a potential candidate.
“I still think it’s a ways away, but if I brought a leadership group in… he’s gonna be part of that.” Tortorella said.
Well, there you have it. It couldn’t be anymore blatant than that. But, how did this happen? How did one of the most hated figures in Flyers Twitter and other ecospheres become so respected by the coach whose mandate was to–essentially–take out the trash?
Tortorella went on to explain that, too, though he was never asked to comment on the taking out the trash bit:
“The way he leads by example; that’s a big part of leadership. Sometimes, people confuse leadership with saying the right things. It’s about doing the right things, so people will follow you. That’s a big part of leadership.”
Someone to lead by example as the Flyers lead–hopefully–a group of young players into a fairly immediate future. That’s what Travis Konecny represents. And if he can do that while maintaining offensive production something like what he’s doing now?
That’s an incredible player, and a core-player of even a championship team.
Mandatory Credit: Flyers Twitter