Can Konecny be next member of Flyers’ elite 50-goal club?

Travis Konecny
      We interrupt all this fantasy talk about the Flyers somehow getting back into playoff contention to bring you this interesting proposition:
      Will Travis Konecny continue his impressive scoring ways in the second half of the season and possibly earn membership into that most elite of local hockey fraternities, namely the 50-goal club?
      Upon registering his second career hat trick in Wednesday night’s impressive 5-3 win over the Washington Capitals – the first game of the second half of the Flyers’ season — Konecny had already matched his career high in goals with 24.
      Keep in mind, he attained this milestone while playing in just 36 games, having missed six games due to a wrist injury earlier in the season.
      Potentially he has 40 games to go and if he continues at this clip, that would put him over the 50 mark, an accomplishment achieved by only six players in team history.
      Of course, the gold standard of 61 set by Reggie Leach during the 1975-76 campaign has been around for nearly half a century and could last another half, mainly because the game has changed so much. The goaltending is better, the defensemen are much bigger and faster and even Alex Ovechkin has reached the 60-mark only once (65 in 2007-08) due to much tighter checking in today’s game.
      It should be noted Leach also found the net 50 times during the 1979-80 season and was a big part of the Flyers’ record 35-game (25-0-10) unbeaten streak and fourth trip to the Stanley Cup Final in seven years.
      Now comes an equally impressive part: Tim Kerr cracked the 50 mark four times and John LeClair three times.
      Kerr turned on the red light on 58 occasions in 1985-86 and 1986-87 (with a bad shoulder in the latter season, we might add) and 54 in two other seasons (1983-84 and 1984-85).
      A lethal power play, which included Mark Howe, Brian Propp and Rick Tocchet, turned Kerr into a scoring machine. Kerr’s 34 power-play goals in the 1985-86 season remain a National Hockey League record.
      LeClair already had won a Stanley Cup with Montreal by the time he arrived in Philadelphia in 1994-95. No doubt he benefited greatly by playing with the Legion of Doom line alongside Eric Lindros and Mikael Renberg but that shouldn’t take much away from his individual talent.
      From 1995 through 1998 LeClair was virtually unstoppable, posting totals of 51, 51 and 50. He could crank in shots from the tops of the circles or deflect home point shots from in front of the net.
      Mark Recchi, who continues to hold the alltime mark for points (123) in a season, is the fourth player on the list. He notched 53 goals the same year he set the points mark (1992-93). Recchi won Stanley Cups with three different teams (Pittsburgh, Carolina and Boston).
      Like LeClair, Bill Barber took advantage of a powerful line, this one called the LCB (Leach, Bobby Clarke, Barber) to score 50 times in 1975-76. Barber still holds the team’s career mark for goals (420). His offensive skills were so proficient he was often used as a point man on the power play.
      Rick MacLeish, aka “The Hawk,’’ completes the list. He was the first Flyer to reach 50, that coming in the 1972-73 campaign when the Flyers were gearing up for the first of their Stanley Cups.
      Check out any of his highlight footage and watch how effortlessly MacLeish glides down the ice, swoops in and buries a shot under the crossbar. His greatest accomplishment? Tipping in Moose Dupont’s point shot in Game 6 of the 1973-74 Cup Final against Boston. That’s been the high point in all of Flyers’ history.
      Konecny could also put himself in another exclusive group, namely the 100-point club.
      Again, only six Flyers hold membership here: Recchi (twice), Clarke (three times), Lindros, Barber, Claude Giroux and MacLeish.
      In his first 36 games, Konecny totaled 46 points. With 40 games to play, 100 is a very real possibility.
      “He’s physical, he’s fast, tenacious on pucks,’’ Scott Laughton said. “It’s a good recipe when you’re that skilled. He brings energy every night.’’
      It’s been 25 years since a Flyer last achieved 50 goals. That streak could very well be coming to an end.
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About Wayne Fish 2157 Articles
Wayne Fish has been covering the Flyers since 1976, a stint which includes 18 Stanley Cup Finals, four Winter Olympics and numerous other international events.