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Next Travis Konecny Contract Carries Significant Risk for Flyers

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Travis Konecny scored a career-high 33 goals and 68 points for the Flyers this season. (Photo: AP)

The contract status of Travis Konecny is the de facto hot-button topic of the 2024 Philadelphia Flyers offseason, and for good reason. Konecny is the team’s best and most productive forward by far, but the two-time NHL All-Star is at an age where he doesn’t necessarily align with the future of the Flyers.

For example, if Konecny signed a maximum eight-year contract extension when he is eligible to do so on July 1, the first year of that extension would conclude when Konecny is 29 years old.

Therefore, the Flyers would be on the hook for a whopping seven years after that, carrying a big Konecny contract on their books through his age 36 season. Combine that with the rumored $10 million AAV asking price, and the Flyers could find themselves in serious trouble down the line.

The common comparison online seems to be the eight-year, $70.4 million deal Timo Meier signed with the New Jersey Devils on June 28. Meier had 76 points in 2021-22 and scored 40 goals for the first time in his NHL career in 2022-23 before signing the new contract.

The 27-year-old did struggle offensively this season, finishing with only 28 goals and 52 points in 69 games, but he also led the Devils in goals this season during a year in which top centers Jack Hughes and Nico Hischier missed extensive periods of time due to injury.

Meier himself was battling injury but returned with a vengeance, scoring the third-most goals in the entire NHL (17) from March 1 through the end of the regular season. Only Filip Forsberg (19) and Kirill Kaprizov (20) scored more goals during that timeframe.

In terms of goals and assists, Meier had 26 points over his final 23 games of the year. Only Forsberg (33), Kaprizov (33), Sebastian Aho (27), Mikko Rantanen (27), Auston Matthews (29), Steven Stamkos (30), Sidney Crosby (32), Leon Draisaitl (33), Artemi Panarin (38), Connor McDavid (38), Nikita Kucherov (40) and Nathan MacKinnon (40) had more points to finish the regular season.

Konecny returned from his injury shortly after, on March 7, but he scored only six goals and 14 points in his final 19 games as the Flyers were quickly dying in their push to make the Stanley Cup playoffs. He’s also never scored 40 goals or 70 points in his NHL career.

Age aside, there are two other risk factors associated with giving Konecny a long-term contract extension. One is that he’s on the smaller side, standing at 5-foot-10 and weighing 175 pounds. The other is his play style. The Flyers star loves to crash and bang and relies on his speed to create offense on the rush. As Konecny ages and the mileage begins to pile up, his athleticism may decline, and so too will his production.

Konecny seemingly wants to stay, and after the Flyers made him an alternate captain this season, it appears the organization wants to keep him around, too. There are ways to make this happen without foolishly over-committing, especially at a position that tends to have a shorter shelf life in the NHL.

A five- or six-year contract would keep Konecny in the Orange and Black until he’s 33 or 34 years old, which could also allow the London, Ontario, native to pursue one last lucrative payday if he’s still a healthy and productive player at that time.

Further to that point, the Flyers’ front office would have more creative freedom to explore long-term contract extensions with players like Cam York, Noah Cates, Tyson Foerster, and maybe even Morgan Frost.

That’s the most logical way to build and keep the core of a Stanley Cup contender.

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