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Flyers’ Most Important Contract Situation Isn’t Travis Konecny’s

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(Photo: AP)

Matvei Michkov is the biggest, craziest, and most important Philadelphia Flyers storyline in the upcoming NHL offseason. The second such storyline? It would be the future of All-Star forward Travis Konecny, who was atypically deflective when quizzed about his contract situation during his exit interview in April.

Konecny, 27, is in the last year of the six-year, $33 million contract he inked with the Flyers on Sept. 16, 2019, and will be eligible to sign a contract extension on July 1. As the team’s resident star player, it’s understandable that Konecny draws most of the speculation from Flyers fans and members of the hockey community alike.

But there’s just one more thing. The Flyers have another player up for a contract extension in July who is equally, if not more, deserving of the spotlight. That’s defenseman Cam York, who enjoyed a remarkable breakout campaign in what was his first full season in the NHL in 2023-24.

The 23-year-old is in the final year of a two-year, $3.2 million bridge contract that Flyers general manager Danny Briere drafted up and signed him to on July 10. York scored 10 goals, 20 assists, and 30 points this season whilst notably playing in all 82 regular season games.

Perhaps even more impressive is that he did so by playing through a painful shoulder injury in February leading up to and including the Stadium Series game against the New Jersey Devils, something which York sheepishly admitted to during his exit interview.

York will turn 24 in January, meaning that if the Flyers give him the maximum eight-year contract extension now, they’ll be able to tie the young defenseman down through his age 32 season.

Conversely, if they did the same for Konecny, the All-Star forward would be signed through his age 36 season. That would be less than ideal for a player who has run into injury trouble and penalty trouble in recent years and has only one goal in 22 career NHL playoff games.

Though still young, York has proven that he can rise to the occasion in crunch time. He averaged a career-high 22:37 in his first full season in the NHL, trailing fellow defenseman and defense partner Travis Sanheim for tops on the Flyers by 1:11. In addition, he and Sanheim were the only Flyers to average 20:00 of ice time or more this season.

And even though Nick Seeler has gained notoriety for his unwavering willingness to block shots as if offended by the opponent’s thought to even try shooting, York trailed him for the team lead in blocks by only 31.

In short, there’s nothing the Michigan product can’t do. York plays the power play and the penalty kill, puts up points, hits, blocks shots, plays through pain for his team, skates and moves the puck at a very high level, and rarely plays a bad game, in the words of teammate Marc Staal.

Without a shadow of a doubt, York’s contract could and should be the Flyers‘ most prudent piece of business this summer.

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