Flyers analysis

Contract year for Konecny? ‘I love Philly,' Flyers' leading scorer says

The Flyers' two-time All-Star will be in the final year of his six-year, $33 million contract next season

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Travis Konecny wanted to be a part of the Flyers' future when Danny Briere took over as interim general manager in March 2023 and expressed an openness to the idea of rebuilding.

"Been through a lot of good times and also down times," Konecny said then. "So when you go through that stuff as a team and some of the guys that have been here, it would mean that much more when you can get to the end goal and winning. It means a lot to be a part of a process like that."

That sentiment hasn't changed for the two-time All-Star, who is coming up on a contract year after posting career highs in goals (33) and points (68). Now 27 years old and with eight seasons under his belt, the go-go winger has developed into the heartbeat of a younger Flyers team that pushed for the playoffs through Game 82.

Come July 1, Konecny will have entered the final year of his six-year, $33 million deal. He's in line for a pretty good raise from his $5.5 million average annual value and sounded open to signing a contract extension before the 2024-25 campaign rolls around.

"I love Philly," Konecny said over two weeks ago at his end-of-the-season press conference.

"I'm sure down the road here, I'll deal with that. I've been focusing so much on trying to get [into the playoffs], but we'll see moving forward."

The Flyers should be interested in hammering down a deal ahead of next season. If the team's rebuild didn't see progress this season and if Konecny didn't play like an All-Star, maybe there would be doubt about his long-term fit. But say the Flyers are two or three years away from contending, Konecny still projects well in their timeline. He'd be 29 or 30 years old and very possibly in his prime.

The counterargument is the Flyers let Konecny head into the 2024-25 season without an extension and see if he becomes one of the most sought-after targets at the NHL trade deadline. But they'd also run the risk of their best player inflating his value even more, potentially being bothered by not having a new contract and thinking of hitting the free-agent market in the offseason.

"I think his inner confidence has grown that he can be a great player; not a good player, that he can be a great player," head coach John Tortorella said in December. "And that he can put some people on his shoulders and carry."

Over the last two seasons, Konecny has put up 129 points (64 goals, 65 assists) in 136 games. He has played just under 20 minutes per game and his nine shorthanded goals lead the NHL.

"Especially last year, I think his game took over. He has been our best player for a little bit here now," Scott Laughton said after Konecny's Gordie Howe hat trick in February. "Always brings it, he's a little pest and a little bit of a rat. It helps out when you make that many plays and you're on both special teams. He brings it every night, so guys follow him."

The Flyers haven't seen the postseason since the 2020 bubbled playoffs. Does Konecny feel they're getting closer to being a regular contender?

"I'd love to say right now that it's going to be next year, I don't know," he said. "You see the steps we took this year, everyone's a year older next year and we go through it again and see where we're at. I believe that this team could be great and be in the playoffs consistently every year. We have all the tools to do it.

"I think this year was good for us being in the spot we were at and learning the importance of ... not just the last couple of games there, but going into next year, maybe it makes you realize that nothing game on a Tuesday, random city, like that game matters. It's a good mindset for our team to have."

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