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Flyers: Michkov and The Ripple Effect on Konecny

Flyers' Travis Konecny (Heather Barry Images, LLC)
(Heather Barry Images, LLC)

Discourse regarding whether the Philadelphia Flyers should trade Travis Konecny never ceases.

On the one side, you have a trigger-happy fanbase sect that always wants to trade the best player because of the value that coincides with being talented. The goalpost moved from Claude Giroux to Konecny. Then, there are the people who hope for an extension, not ready to move away from a player who steadily improved and helped lead a rebuild. They’re crunching numbers to speak it into the universe.

‘Michkovmania’ put a new spin on these discussions. One question, for example, relates to leverage. Did the arrival of Matvei Michkov give the Flyers more leverage in negotiations with Konecny?

Two days ago, I reflected upon the possible ripple effect Michkov has on Cam Atkinson. It is time to examine the ripple effect correlating to Konecny.

Possible Flyers Extension

Typically, teams want to agree to an extension before the market dictates the cost. The NHL salary cap is increasing from $83.5mil to $87.675mil. Then, there are the players on other franchises who are getting paid.

Konecny totaled 68 points (33G, 35A) last season, placing 59th amongst all forwards and defensemen in total points. Bo Horvat ($8.5mil/AAV; 2023-2024) notched the same amount of points, goals, and assists in 81GP compared to the 76GP by Konecny. But, as the saying goes, ‘yesterday’s price is not today’s price.’ Konecny deserves to bat at the $9mil/AAV plate.

Including his contributions on the powerplay and penalty kill, while keeping in touch with his point production, Konecny also compares to Roope Hintz ($8.45mil/AAV; 2023-2024).

Philadelphia does not have a lot of cap space to utilize. With the increase, there is an estimation of $803.5k available.

Perhaps it is a reason why negotiations aren’t moving as fast. Daniel Brière and Keith Jones keep reiterating the navigation of cap space and that the Flyers will not have an aggressive offseason. The most aggressive acquisition is the early arrival of Michkov. Something else potentially holding up negotiations is Konecny wanting to see how the market begins to unfold. Carter Verhaeghe ($4.166mil/AAV; pending UFA after next season) is an intriguing name to follow; he played as many games as Konecny last season but scored four more points.

Possible Flyers Trade

Then, there is the opportunity to trade.

Brière mentioned Philadelphia could move up if there is a prospect they love, or they could trade back if there is a cluster of potential prospects the front office likes, including input from John Tortorella and Brent Flahr. However, Konecny is not the only option to move up from the 12th overall pick. Joel Farabee and Scott Laughton are two names making their rounds on the rumor mill. If a trade takes place to move up at the 2024 NHL Entry Draft, including Farabee ($5mil/AAV) or Laughton ($3mil/AAV), the cap space alleviated could help afford an extension for Konecny.

“When you talk about the rebuild last year, there’s the three following drafts from the time we started in May or April; those next three drafts, we had a lot of picks in, and we acquired a few more. We had ten last year, we have ten picks this year, [and] we have ten picks next year. [We had] two firsts last year, [we have] two firsts in the moment this year, and two firsts at the moment next year. Those are really critical drafts for us when you’re doing a rebuild, especially now in a cap era where it’s really tough to go out and sign free agents. That’s what we hope to be the base for us moving forward. They’re critical drafts, and there’s still going to be a really strong focus on that. If we have the chance to acquire more picks, it has to make sense at the same time. To be honest with you, we’re looking at all kinds of things. We’re looking to possibly move up with certain picks, [and] we’re looking to move back. Obviously, if we move up, we might have to give up a pick or two, but if the value is worth it to move up, to give up a pick on the back end to acquire a player or pick a player that we really love, we’ll jump on it. On the flip side, if there’s a clump of players that we feel comfortable with, we might try to move back to acquire more assets either later in the draft or next year. Everything’s on the table for us.” – Daniel Brière; 6/20/2024

Laughton and the Ottawa Senators seem to make the most immediate sense. The Senators were interested in Laughton before last season, too. However, there isn’t anything ‘imminent,’ per Brière. For Farabee, the Buffalo Sabres are a possibility. Both teams are ahead of the Flyers’ 12th overall selection (OTT 7th, BUF 11th), matching the potential of trading up.

Those two potential offerings mean that trading Konecny would be a hasty decision. By executing a deal with Ottawa and Buffalo, Philadelphia could pay Konecny while moving into position to potentially land prospects like Tij Iginla, Zayne Parekh, Berkly Catton, and Carter Yakemchuk.

Just because the return on Konecny would be good does not make it the best hockey trade for now. Brière emphasized that any trade needs to make sense, notably including the team leader in point production since the COVID era. There are other ways to alleviate space while keeping the Flyers on the upswing.

Ripple Effect: Konecny

Okay, so what is the ripple effect Michkov has on Konecny?

Firstly, both will begin the season in the top six. Konecny starts on the top line, and Michkov competes on the second.

If an extension does not take place for Konecny in the offseason because he feels Philadelphia is not meeting his desired price, then the pressure is on. Everyone looks at Michkov and acknowledges him as the future. Additionally, the Flyers will feature Michkov in a significant role. If not, Michkov will return to the KHL and SKA St. Petersburg.

“I will make my way to the NHL, but if I return to the KHL, I will only play in St. Petersburg.” – Matvei Michkov; 6/25/2024

What if Michkov enters the NHL and compiles a higher point total than Konecny as a rookie? If Konecny is still negotiating a contract, it will not help. Michkov will jump to the first line, and Konecny drops to the second.

The picture will become clearer this week once Philadelphia makes potential moves. Tomorrow, the NHL buyout window begins through June 30th. During the buyout window, the 2024 NHL Entry Draft will take place. Konecny and the Flyers should hope to be closer to reaching an agreement by Sunday. If not, there is another layer added to next season at the Wells Fargo Center.

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