For what it’s worth, Travis Konecny is as mystified as you are by his disappointing 2020-21 season.
After posting three straight seasons of 24 goals (in 82-game seasons), the Flyers’ right wing managed to connect for only 11 in 50 games (he missed six) this season, which projected to about 17 for a schedule in normal circumstances.
Konecny, 24, didn’t have injury issues, although he was one of the players who contracted COVID and had to sit out a couple weeks.
When asked about this puzzling dropoff, Konecny indicated he didn’t want explanations to sound like excuses.
“I wish I could tell you, I would have fixed it,’’ he said in a media Zoom call on Tuesday from the Skate Zone in Voorhees, N.J.. “I’m not too sure. I think this season was weird in general.
“And if you had any sort of issues in your game, it was hard to work on certain things and get back to where you need to be because there was no practice time to reset and maybe get your confidence back.’’
Some observers believe Konecny tried to focus on playing the game “the right way,’’ meaning he focused his game on defense. That might explain why his shot totals dropped.
That, and the fact he might have been looking to set up plays rather than shooting on instinct.
“Maybe I wasn’t shooting the puck as much as I was last year, trying to do too much,’’ Konecny said. “Maybe just get back to simplify my game. I’m going to have some time to reflect on that and hopefully figure it out over the offseason.’’
Like a lot of the Flyers’ young Canadian players, Konecny – a native of London, Ontario — faced health restrictions in his home country during last offseason which made it tough to stay in shape on a consistent basis.
“It’s easy to look back now and make excuses,’’ Konecny said. “Other teams have the same amount of people from different countries, and they made it work.
“So I’m not going say the fault is all training. I know it was difficult. I was working out of my garage for as long as I could until I was allowed to get back into my regular gym, and trying to find ice was difficult.’’
As an example, Sean Couturier had to rent a hockey rink on his own just to get in some skating time.
“Everyone went through it,’’ Konecny said. “Every team went through it. It was a weird year for everybody. You know, hopefully we can figure it out next year and everyone’s training situations are better this year. And if they’re not, then maybe they can figure out a way to improve it.’’
Konecny also has theories on why his team’s struggles mirrored his own.
He said the Flyers’ compete level was not the issue.
“I think that compete’s always there,’’ he said. “I know our group cares. It’s just a matter of paying attention to detail and not having breakdowns throughout a 60-minute game. I think that was kind of more what we fell into.
“I never really had an issue with anybody not trying or showing an effort to help the team when it was more just being focused and making sure that little mistakes aren’t going to happen. And guys are going to be able to go back and reflect on that stuff and hopefully learn from that.’’
>Morin wants to stay a Flyer
One of the more intriguing scenarios of the offseason could involve defenseman Samuel Morin, who battled through a pair of painful ACL operations to finally make it to the Flyers this season.
However, Morin’s contract is up and he can become an unrestricted free agent.
When Morin spoke to the media on Tuesday, he had yet to meet with general manager Chuck Fletcher for a standard exit interview, so the future looks a bit up in the air.
But one thing we do know: Morin is the only player on the Flyers who can strike fear in an opponent’s heart, or act as a policeman when another team starts going after Philadelphia’s skill players.
That only adds to his value.
“Obviously, I want to stay,’’ he said. “My contract is up. The stuff I bring, I don’t think a lot of guys bring it in this organization. It’s kind of pretty rare now. I think I’m probably one of the toughest guys in the league to be honest.
“Next year, we’re going to play those big boys in the West and I’m kind of ready to prove it. I think I can bring something that no one here can bring. But, it’s not up to me. I feel I’m a Flyer. And yeah, for sure. I want to stay.’’
Getting a full offseason of training in on a pair of healthy knees should make Morin more equipped to handle a full season.
“When I started playing defense down there with the Phantoms, I was like, man, when I do get a full summer training, I’m going to feel good,’’ Morin said. “Because it was still a rehab season for me, kind of. When you tear your ACL twice and still a little bit of pain in my knee, it takes like a year or two before you feel a hundred percent. I just see myself next year skating even better, like without pain and stuff. I’m going to be buzzing. I’ll be ready to go.’’