For Travis Konecny to work through his sophomore slump, the Philadelphia Flyers must be patient.
The Philadelphia Flyers are halfway through their 2017-18 season and young forward Travis Konecny seems to be suffering from the “sophomore slump.” He’s gone from playing with Claude Giroux and Jakub Voracek on the first line to barely scraping minutes on the fourth line. Will Konecny break out of this habit? Or will he soon find himself in another jersey?
In the 2015 NHL Entry Draft, the Boston Bruins occupied the 13th, 14th, and 15th overall picks. Konecny anxiously waited for his name to be called seeing he would become a Bruin. Surprisingly, the Bruins would pass on him not once, but three times.
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The Flyers, owning the 29th overall pick, traded up to the 24th overall to select their newest acquisition in Konecny. After he was drafted, he tore it up in the OHL, putting 169 points in 120 games. In the 2016-17 season, Konecny found himself as a lock on the Flyers opening night roster, marking the start of his NHL career.
He finished his rookie season with 28 points in 70 games. While they may not be stellar stats, during his rookie year, there were signs of him being a dangerous top six forward. Konecny had a strong 2017 preseason and with his roster spot locked, it looked like he would continue from where he left off.
The 2017-18 started and Konecny was alright through the first two months of the season. Averaging around 12 to18 minutes of ice time per game, while he didn’t produce many points (nine points in 25 games), the effort was there.
On Dec. 2 against the Calgary Flames, Konency got benched for the entire third period. His ice time would soon also drop to seven to 14 minutes per game after being demoted to the fourth line.
Does Hakstol still have trust in Konecny?
This isn’t the first time fans have seen Hakstol be this hard on him. Last year, Konecny was scratched twice. Hakstol calls it a learning experience, but it’s tough for players to learn from their mistakes by sitting in the press box.
Konecny’s coach says he still has faith in the forward, even though he kept benching him. What’s frustrating is that Hakstol chooses to put veterans like Dale Weise in the lineup instead. There have been times this season where players like Weise will get time in overtime over Konecny. Despite Konecny being one of the best playmakers on the team, less skilled players get more ice time.
The question remains can this young forward’s patience and hard work pay off in the end?
Before Christmas break, Konecny was struggling. He went six games without a point, along with his limited ice time. Once the Flyers came back, Konency found his game again and it seems like maybe the benching was good for him.
Konency was promoted back to the top line playing with Sean Couturier and Giroux. He earned an assist on Scott Laughton’s goal on Dec. 28 against the Florida Panthers and picked up two more in the next game against the Tampa Bay Lightning. Then Konecny snapped a nine-game goalless drought on Jan. 4 against the New York Islanders. He added another assist on Jan. 6th against the St. Louis Blues.
If he keeps up having a point per game, he could end with 56 points in 82 games played. The sophomore slump might have hit Konency, but 2018 seems to be going well for the young forward.