Throughout most of his career, Travis Konecny has always been one of those shoot-first/pass-second kind of snipers.
That attitude paid off in three straight seasons of 24 goals, leading the Flyers on at least one occasion.
But over the past couple years, Konecny has – perhaps unwittingly – transformed himself into more of a playmaker.
Nothing wrong with that, except his goal totals have suffered: Just 11 in 50 games during last year’s pandemic-shortened schedule and only eight in 51 for 2021-22.
For his career, Konecny has scored 102 goals in exactly 400 games, which is roughly a one in four ratio. The past two seasons the numbers have dwindled to about one in five and then one in six.
After Thursday morning’s optional pre-game skate at the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia, Konecny was asked about this.
Some of it, he said, might have to do with confidence.
“I definitely think when you get to a certain point, let’s say you’re feeling good, you’re feeling hot, you might just have a tendency to shoot the puck a little bit more, with that confidence,’’ Konecny said. “I know I’m trying to get to that shot-first mentality.’’
All that considered, Konecny has trust in linemates Scott Laughton and Oskar Lindblom that they can get the job done as well if they’re open for a scoring chance.
“At the same time, sometimes if the play is there you have to try and make the play,’’ Konecny said. “If it doesn’t work out, it’s easy to go back to the bench and say, ‘Oh, that didn’t work out.’ But I definitely think I can put a few more pucks on net.’’
Ironically, with 244 shots on goal in 51 games, Konecny, who turns 25 next week, is on pace for a career high. His personal high total is 296 shots in 81 games in 2018-19.
But the question is: How many of this year’s shots are quality scoring chances or just attempts to get the puck on net with hopes of a favorable rebound?
It’s all about finding a good balance.
“It’s tough,’’ Konecny said. “I look at the game (on video) afterwards, my shifts and it’s easy for me to look on the phone and say, ‘Oh, I totally could have shot that.’ That’s frustrating. Things happen so fast, I’m trusting my instincts that I will make the play I think is right. It’s also a little bit of habit you have to break. You tend to just kind of react out there. It’s a habit I have to break, (get) a shot-first mentality and if the play’s there, make it after.’’
>Ratcliffe back to Phantoms
Because his ice time was beginning to diminish with the Flyers, Isaac Ratcliffe was loaned back to the Lehigh Valley Phantoms on Thursday.
Ratcliffe made a good first impression on interim head coach Mike Yeo and there’s a possibility the left wing will get more NHL playing time before the season is over.
“He wasn’t in the lineup tonight (vs. the Minnesota Wild) and it’s not good to have young players not playing,’’ Yeo said. “He hasn’t been playing big minutes lately so it will be a good opportunity for him to get back into some of that action.’’
Ratcliffe, 23, produced one goal/four points in 10 games with the Flyers, playing mostly on the fourth line.
“He’s done a lot of great things,’’ Yeo said. “But it’s not doing him a lot of good to play seven or eight minutes on the fourth line right now.’’
>Hayes possible for Saturday
Kevin Hayes (adductor) remains a possibility to make his comeback against the Chicago Blackhawks on Saturday afternoon. Wade Allison (knee) is making progress in practice but will not play against the Blackhawks.