Konecny, Tortorella, Gaudreau & More
The Philadelphia Flyers suffered home losses against the Ottawa Senators and Dallas Stars in weekend matinees and a pair of road losses during the week. Boone Jenner’s overtime goal lifted the Columbus Blue Jackets to their second victory over the Orange and Black in less than a week’s span on Tuesday night. The Flyers limped to a fifth consecutive loss with a 4-1 defeat at the hands of the Boston Bruins at TD Garden on Thursday night.
Nobody expected the Flyers to contend for the Stanley Cup in 2022-23 considering the glaring disparity in talent between them and the top tier of NHL teams. They started the season with an impressive 7-3-2 hot streak thanks to the excellence of goaltender Carter Hart covering some of the weaknesses of the team and their inability to drive play at 5-on-5. However, the discrepancy has caught up to them.
The Flyers lack the type of offensive firepower needed to field a successful top line in the modern NHL. Star players on opposing teams capable of first-line production have burned them during the five-game losing streak.
- Johnny Gaudreau: 2 goals, 2 assists (2 games)
- Alex DeBrincat: 2 goals
- Brady Tkachuk, Claude Giroux: 3 assists each
- Jason Robertson: 1 goal, 1 assist
When Philadelphia neutralized the top line of Brad Marchand, David Pastrňák, and Patrice Bergeron for the majority of the game against the Bruins, they still fell flat because of two goals from an established second-liner in David Krejci. The Flyers have scored just nine goals in the last five games.
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“We’re still trying to build an identity. We’re not there yet. I see signs of it as far as how hard you have to play, the checking, the little things you need to do. But if we had an identity and we were rock solid, we wouldn’t be losing games. The team is (the Bruins are) better than we are. They’re better than we are, but it doesn’t mean we can’t beat them,” head coach John Tortorella said after the loss in Boston.
Travis Konecny Injury
Travis Konecny left the game against the Bruins with an injury late in the second period. The team hasn’t provided any official update on his status. The 25-year-old winger snapped a career high seven-game point streak with the early exit.
The Flyers hit their stride in the second half of the 2019-20 season in large part because of Konecny’s breakout. He earned his first NHL All-Star Game appearance at age 22 and finished with the team lead in points with 61 and goals with 24 in just 66 games. However, his offensive production dropped off significantly after the COVID-19 pandemic. He finished with 27 goals and 86 points in 129 games in 2020-21 and 2021-22.
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The former first-round pick out of the Ontario Hockey League (OHL) has surged to start the season with 19 points in 17 games. An already thin roster will look more desperate without their leading scorer if he misses games with an injury. He could potentially join Sean Couturier, Cam Atkinson, and James van Riemsdyk as the fourth of the five forwards on the roster with the highest career point totals out of the lineup with an injury.
Flyers Roster Shuffle
The Flyers placed Wade Allison on injured reserve because of an oblique muscle strain and hip pointer. They expect him to miss about three weeks. The 25-year-old has missed extended time in every one of his professional seasons after tearing his ACL during his NCAA career at Western Michigan.
The club also optioned Tanner Laczynski to the Lehigh Valley Phantoms of the American Hockey League (AHL). The 25-year-old forward has also battled long-term injuries slowing the development of his professional career. General manager (GM) Chuck Fletcher pointed to Laczynski as one of the young players who would be evaluated by the organization based on the opportunities he got in 2022-23 in a lineup that lacks established scorers deserving of top minutes. A demotion from a struggling team to a developmental league for a player at age 25 finally healthy enough to earn his shot doesn’t bode well for his future.
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Max Willman and Patrick Brown have joined the active roster, as the bottom six continues with the moving parts. Neither player offers a notably high potential upside. The 30-year-old Brown has 12 career points in 78 NHL games, and Willman’s body of work in the NHL came with a 2021-22 Flyers team ravaged with injuries desperate to field a healthy team on the ice at many points throughout the season.
Artem Anisimov has also joined the Phantoms. The organization brought in the veteran journeyman for a professional tryout to begin training camp, but he sat out over a month with an injury. He played three full-time seasons under Tortorella with the New York Rangers in 2009-10, 2010-11, and 2011-12.
Colin Newby is a freelance journalist from Delaware County, PA covering the Philadelphia Flyers for The Hockey Writers. He is an encyclopedia of useless sports knowledge with an uncanny ability to rattle off Flyers goaltending stats from 2004 and every Stanley Cup winner during his lifetime. The depths of his knowledge stem from spending his entire life following the Flyers and the NHL, from fan favorites like the “Legion of Doom” and Claude Giroux to forgotten journeymen like Andy Delmore and Branko Radivojevič. He joined the Professional Hockey Writers’ Association (PHWA) in 2022.
Colin also covers the Philadelphia Eagles and works for 97.5 The Fanatic in Philadelphia.