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Should the Philadelphia Flyers extend or trade Travis Konecny?

(Heather Barry Images, LLC)

Travis Konecny is entering the final year of a six-year, $33 million ($5.5M AAV) contract that was signed ahead of the 2019-20 season.

The Philadelphia Flyers will endure year two of their rebuild under Daniel Brière this upcoming season with plenty of roster decisions to be made.

What will happen between Konecny and the Flyers?

Konecny is 27 years old and in the prime of his career right now. The London, Ontario native just had a season filled with personal bests and led the Flyers in goals (33), assists (35), points (68), shorthanded goals (6), game-winning goals (5), and was tied for the team-lead in even-strength goals (23) in 76 games. His shorthanded goals total led the league and he made his second career All-Star Game appearance this season as well.

There have been rumors circulating that after his most recent season, Konecny could be looking at a massive pay increase with term on his next contract, and deservedly so. Konecny has been the heartbeat of the Flyers’ offense over the last three seasons and has been a focal point of the team’s forward group for his entire NHL career.

Konecny is a homegrown talent who perfectly fits the essence of being a Flyer. He is gritty and doesn’t back down from anyone. We’ve seen him act as a pest to any opponent he plays by getting in players’ faces after whistles, dropping the gloves, and he stirs the pot more than anyone in Orange and Black. He is also insanely talented and represents the best the Flyers have on offense with a sensational wrist shot and fantastic playmaking abilities. Konecny is also a valuable veteran leader that isn’t afraid to be vocal, evidenced by the “A” on his sweater. He has been through the worst of times with the Flyers and has managed to remain one of the few bright spots in the organization over the last few years.

We have seen too many players who started out in Philadelphia either enjoy success and build cultures on other teams, or the Flyers wasted their talents and had to trade them for the best possible return for one reason or another. Simon Gagné, Mike Richards, Jeff Carter, Sergei Bobrovsky, Brayden Schenn, Wayne Simmonds, Jake Voráček, and Claude Giroux are all examples from the last decade-plus, and Konecny might be the next.

The Flyers have a gigantic decision in their hands. The major question is, how much money will Konecny ask for and how many years will he commit to? And would it benefit the Flyers to extend him when the opportunity presents itself?

Let’s start with what a potential extension looks like and look over some possible comparables.

Anthony Di Marco of The Fourth Period wrote about Konecny’s contract situation about two weeks ago and mentioned that New Jersey Devils winger Timo Meier’s contract has been brought up as a comparison from league sources. Meier, 27, signed an eight-year, $70.4 million ($8.8M AAV) deal that began this past season. Di Marco also said that the Flyers’ comfortable range on salary is $8M-$8.5M per year but between the rising salary cap and Konecny outperforming Meier, it’s normal to assume Konecny’s cap hit will be higher.

Islanders forward Bo Horvat – Konecny’s cousin – just posted an identical offensive season as TK with 33 goals and 35 assists for 68 points in 81 games. Horvat recently inked an eight-year deal worth $68 million ($8.5M AAV) and is 28 years old. The contract also carries a no-trade clause for the first four seasons and the last four feature a modified no-trade clause.

Red Wings forward Dylan Larkin also had 33 goals this past season to accompany 36 assists for 69 points in just 68 games. The 27-year-old just wrapped up the first year of an eight-year contract worth $69.6 million ($8.7M AAV). Larkin’s deal carries one more year of a full no-trade clause than Horvat’s, with four seasons each of NTC and M-NTC.

The one thing that differentiates those two guys from a player like Konecny is that they are centers, while Konecny is a winger. Horvat and Larkin play a more difficult position and carry more responsibility on both ends of the ice. While Konecny did perform better on the penalty kill this year and led the entire league in shorthanded goals, his overall defensive play left more to be desired.

That being said, his job is to score goals and create offense, and that’s what he’ll be paid to do. But is it worth it for a team in a self-described rebuild that’s years away from being a true championship contender?

Let’s say the Flyers were to extend Konecny for eight years. That would take him to 2032-33, his age-36 season. While he’s in his prime now and will be for the next few seasons, he’ll likely regress on the back half of that contract. Moneywise, there’s a lot at stake considering the Flyers have to make a lot of important contract decisions in 2025 regarding young core pieces in Tyson Foerster, Morgan Frost, Noah Cates, and Cam York. While the Flyers will rid themselves of the contracts or Cal Petersen, Cam Atkinson, Ryan Johansen, and potentially Garnet Hathaway after 2024-25, they have to be smart with their money. While Tony DeAngelo’s buyout will come off the books, the Flyers will still be on the hook for $3,571,428 of Kevin Hayes’ retained salary entering 2025-26. There’s also still uncertainty surrounding the report of Matvei Michkov coming over from the KHL early, which would further complicate roster decisions even though he’d be a much-welcomed addition to the team.

If the Flyers give Konecny an average salary that exceeds their reported $8M-$8.5M range, there is the risk of setting themselves up to lose one of their other players to poor cap management. However, the NHL announced that the salary cap will rise to $88 million next season and is projected to reach $92 million in 2025-26 according to CapFriendly, which would make things much easier for the Flyers.

Should the cap actually hit $92 million in 2025, the Flyers would have $41,753,572 in space to play with entering that offseason. If they extend Konecny, they’ll have anywhere from roughly $33.7M to $31.7M to pay their RFAs and fill out the rest of the roster.

On paper, that might seem feasible. But let’s say the Flyers balk at an extension and explore a trade. What would that look like? Let’s go back to two players we looked at earlier who are similar in age and had similar offensive production.

When Timo Meier was traded from San Jose to New Jersey on February 26th, 2023, the Sharks received a 2023 first-round pick (Quentin Musty), a 2024 second-round pick, a 2024 seventh-round pick, forwards Fabian Zetterlund and Andreas Johnsson, and defensemen Shakir Mukhamadullin and Nikita Okhotyuk while retaining half of Meier’s salary in exchange for a 2024 fifth-round pick, defenseman Scott Harrington and Santeri Hatakka, forward Timur Ibragimov, and goaltender Zacharie Émond.

San Jose helped replenish their prospect pool in the deal in a big way but still are lacking in NHL talent and are a long way from building themselves into a respectable NHL team again, though the probable arrival of Macklin Celebrini should help them out as well.

The biggest prize in the Meier deal was the first-round pick that they used on winger Quentin Musty. Musty just racked up 102 points (43g, 59a) with the OHL’s Sudbury Wolves and represents a key piece of San Jose’s future on offense alongside Will Smith. Mukhamadullin became the team’s clear top defensive prospect after being acquired and enjoyed a solid full campaign with the AHL’s San Jose Barracuda. He was even rewarded with 3 NHL games in which he racked up his first career assist and point. Okhotyuk appeared in 43 games with the Sharks before being traded to Calgary for a 2024 fifth-round pick, so we’ll see how the Sharks use that and the other two picks from the initial deal. Overall, the Sharks gained a solid haul for Meier and helped build for the future.

D Shakir Mukhamadullin* F Timo Meier (50% retained by SJS)*
D Nikita Okhotyuk D Scott Harrington
F Fabian Zetterlund* D Santeri Hatakka*
F Andreas Johnsson F Timur Ibragimov
NJD 2023 1st-round pick (Quentin Musty)* G Zacharie Émond
NJD 2024 2nd-round pick* COL 2024 5th-round pick*
NJD 2024 7th-round pick*

*indicates still with organization

Now let’s look at the deal that sent Bo Horvat to the Islanders before his extension was signed. Vancouver shipped Horvat to New York for forwards Anthony Beauvillier and Aatu Räty, and a 2023 first-round pick. Beauvillier played in 55 games for the Canucks before he was dealt to Chicago for a 2024 fifth-rounder. Räty played 3 games in Vancouver before being sent to the AHL’s Abbotsford Canucks, where he has remained over the last season and a half. The 2023 first-rounder the Canucks received was later traded along with a 2023 second-round pick to Detroit for defenseman Filip Hronek and a 2023 fourth-rounder, which was used to pick forward Ty Mueller. Hronek likely won’t re-sign with Vancouver, and Detroit used the first-rounder to take defenseman Axel Sandin Pellikka, one of the top defensive prospects in hockey.

In totality, the Canucks didn’t walk away with much in this deal. However, they just wrapped up a successful season in which they advanced to the Western Conference Semifinals and head coach Rick Tocchet won the Jack Adams Award. They still have an elite core in Quinn Hughes, Elias Pettersson, J.T. Miller, Brock Boeser, and Thatcher Demko, but trading a valuable center and the former team captain in Horvat for essentially peanuts is still a tough pill to swallow when they likely could’ve gotten more for him.

F Anthony Beauvillier F Bo Horvat (25% retained by VAN)
F Aatu Räty*
NYI 2023 1st-round pick

*indicates still with organization

Looking at what each of those deals fetched, clearly the Flyers would want something similar to the Meier package. Whether they get a package like that is another story, but it’s hard to imagine teams wouldn’t pay a premium to get a perennial 30+ goal scorer who is a thorn in the side of every opponent he plays.

Konecny will maintain high value all season – especially in a contract year – and if he can stay healthy we could see him finally reach the 40-goal and 70-point plateaus should he stay the entire season and not get flipped at the trade deadline. We haven’t seen that much goal output from a Flyer since Jeff Carter in 2008-09 (46), and that would likely drive his asking price higher.

Brière and company have a monumental decision to make, and they have to make sure it’s the right one. The Flyers are still in their rebuild, and their star player will ask for top dollar. What will end up happening?

Managing Editor at Flyers Nation. Proud lifelong supporter of the Philadelphia Flyers and all things hockey related. Steve Mason's #1 fan.

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