After a breakout regular season, fans were reluctant to see what Travis Konecny would do during the 2019-2020 playoffs. During the regular season, Konecny put up season highs in points (61) and assists (37) while tying a season-high in goals (24). He was close to becoming a point per game player this season until the Covid-19 pandemic brought the regular season to an abrupt halt. With the Philadelphia Flyers poised to take a high ranking playoff position, the right-winger had the opportunity to do some damage this past postseason. To understand what happened to Konecny during the offseason, let us dive into his other postseason performances.
With this only being the fourth full season for Konecny, Travis hasn’t tasted much of that playoff juice. His first three seasons were under the Hakstol regime, and we all know how great those teams were at getting into the postseason. While Hakstol was coaching, the Flyers reached the playoffs twice. The year before Konecny’s rookie season (2015-2016) and Konecny’s sophomore season (2017-2018). Both were ended shortly with first round exits against the Capitals and Penguins respectively.
The 2018 postseason against the Penguins was Travis Konecny’s first real taste at NHL playoff hockey. At that time, they were playing a very dominant Pittsburgh Penguins team. Konecny recorded his first playoff goal and 10 PIM (Penalties in Minutes). Although the Flyers made it to Game 6 of that round one matchup, the Penguins controlled the games and series. His first experience in the NHL playoffs was short-lived, and he would not receive another opportunity until the 2019-2020 postseason.
The Flyers entered the 2020 postseason in a very unusual way – playing in a bubble and playing a round-robin tournament to determine the seeding. After sweeping the round-robin and taking the first overall seed in the Eastern Conference, the Flyers faced a path that could lead them straight to Lord Stanley’s Cup. In sixteen games played, Konecny recorded only seven assists, which was quite a surprise to many fans and hockey analysts who had Konecny leading the Flyers through the playoffs. So what happened to Travis Konecny, the team leader in points, this postseason?
Yes, you could pin Konecny as a veteran on this team, but he is still a young and rising star with much promise. It all boils down to youth and inexperience. While Travis is barely scratching the surface, he has much to learn about the beast that is the Stanley Cup Finals. Konecny possesses the potential of leading the Flyers in postseason points over the next year or two.
From the start of his young career, Konency’s skill, determination, and gritty play drew many people to compare him to Zach Parise of the Minnesota Wild and Brendan Gallagher of the Montreal Canadiens. He brings Parise’s offensive skill and playmaking abilities while bringing Gallagher’s irritating forechecking and tough-nosed play all to the table. Both Parise and Gallagher didn’t find much success in their young postseason careers. Let’s get in a time machine and travel back to the 2005-2006 season when Zach Parise was a member of the New Jersey Devils.
Parise was a 22-year-old, former first-round pick that broke into the league during the 2006 season. In the regular season, Parise recorded 32 points and went on to the postseason, only posting one goal and two assists. In the following season, at just 23 years old, Parise hit the 60 point mark in the regular season while only posting 10 points in the postseason. Sound familiar? That’s right, Konecny posted similar numbers at the same age, both in the regular season and playoffs.
Parise, now an aging veteran, has struggled to produce in the playoffs regardless of his point production in the regular season. Part of that falls on the fact that he has played on some very underwhelming New Jersey Devils and Minnesota Wild teams. In 101 career playoff games, Parise has recorded 77 points but has failed to help his team raise the Stanley Cup. Yes, Konecny has always been compared to Parise since his draft day in 2015, but his game is more than just numbers. Konecny has more spark and grittiness to his game than Parise ever has.
Speaking of spark, have you ever watched a Montreal Canadiens playoff game when Brendan Gallager is raising hell on the ice? You probably have, since a 2020 Flyers-Canadiens series should be fresh in all of our minds. This is the upside of a more dynamic power forward that is not afraid to grind in the corners and get into puck battles along the boards. Gallagher has become one of those players that can stir the pot on the ice and then turn around and bury a goal to prove a point.
Like Parise, Gallagher broke into the at 21 years of age in the 2012-2013 season. During his rookie season, he managed to put up 28 points in 44 regular-season games (keep in mind that the 2012-2013 season was shortened due to the lockout). The Canadians made it to the playoffs that year, and Gallagher wasn’t very productive, only potting two goals in five games played. The following two years, he posted 41 and 47 points in his sophomore and junior regular seasons, respectively. Again, his postseason success was not scorching—11 points in the 2014 playoffs and five points in 2015.
Gallagher has only posted 25 points in 49 career playoff games. Being in the league for eight seasons, Gallagher is what you would consider a seasoned veteran. With the Canadiens having a young core, be sure to keep a close watch on this team. The Habs believe that Gallagher can help lead them back to that precious Stanley Cup unless they wouldn’t have locked him up for six more years.
Signing a similar contract to Gallagher the last offseason, Travis Konecny is poised to help lead this young Flyers core to success. Regardless of their regular-season production in a young career, the likes of Parise and Gallagher seemed to figure out how to produce offensively for their teams in the postseason. While Konecny has only posted eight points in the postseason in his career, Flyers fans and analysts should not be concerned with his postseason production in the future.
Flyers fans, buckle up and get ready for an exciting career with Travis Konecny. This past playoff appearance was just a debut. Chuck Fletcher and Alain Vigneault are going to be putting the puzzle pieces together to help develop this kid and young team to be a contender for the Stanley Cup for years to come. With two postseason appearances under his belt, he will be a name to listen for in the future when the game is on the line. There is simply no need to worry.
Photo Credit – Nicole Fridling/Icon Sportswire