Nation Network Prospect Profiles #20: Travis Konecny

Ottawa 67s forward Travis Konency comes from a family of hockey players – Vancouver Canucks centre Bo Horvat is a second cousin – and despite being small of stature, plays a hard-nosed game. He’s also been rather productive at the OHL level, and could represent significant value in the latter part of the first-round.

Bio

  • Age: 17.52 at the start of the season. Born March 11, 1997.
  • Birthplace: London, Ontario
  • Frame: 5’10, 176 lbs
  • Position: C/RW
  • Draft Year Team: Ottawa 67s
  • Accomplishments: 2014 OHL rookie of the year, Bronze Medal 2014 U-18 tournament, MVP 2015 CHL top prospects game.

Stats

GP ES G ES A1 ES A2 ES Pts ES Pts/GP ES GF% ES GF% Rel TmG% TmPts% AA Pts/GP EA Pts/GP Adj Pts/GP
60 22 18 8 48 0.8 52% 7% 13.94% 32.69% 1.02  1.22 1.09
  • TmG% = Percentage of team goals a player scored in that player’s games played
  • TmPts% = Percentage of team goals a player registered points on in that player’s games played
  • AA Pts/GP = Age adjusted points per game
  • EA Pts/GP = Era and league adjusted points per game
  • Adj Pts/GP = Age, era, and league adjusted points per game
PCS% 2014 PCS Pts/82 2014 PCS% 2015 PCS Pts/82 2015
34.0% 60.8 22.3% 38.5
PCS Most NHL GP PCS Highest Pts/GP
Steve Yzerman Dale Hawerchuk
Guy Carbonneau Steve Yzerman
Dale Hawerchuk Barry Pederson

Scouts

Draft rank:

NHL CSS ISS FutureConsiderations HockeyProspect Pronman McKeen’s McKenzie Button
14 (NA) 12 11 19 7  14 15 33

From Corey Pronman of ESPN:

Konecny is small and doesn’t win a ton of battles, but he is tough, and he plays a fearless style of hockey where he drives the net and gets involved physically. He’s a very skilled puck handler, who can make defenders miss. He’s also a very smart offensive player who is more than just a pure dangler.

From Craig Button of TSN.ca

Travis is a very determined competitor who refuses to be denied. He will push through resistance and battle for every bit of space. Has a good shot and can score from 35 feet but will pay the price around net. An improvement in speed and quickness will allow him to get more room and opportunity.

From EliteProspect’s Curtis Joe:

A talented scoring forward that can play either as a center or on the wing; plays with the bite and intensity of a guy who is willing to do anything to win a game. Possesses dynamic skating ability that allows him to accelerate rapidly with each step, incredible hockey sense, electrifying puckhandling skills, and a lightning release on his shot; when you put this skillset together with hard-nosed determination, proactiveness in all three zones, and a physical willingness to grind and persevere, you get a game-changer who can be extremely difficult to play against.

Our Take

Konecny has always schooled his age level, and was the top-pick in the 2013 OHL priority draft. 

His rookie campaign with the Ottawa 67s was magnificent, but his production flat lined somewhat in his draft eligible campaign. Even so, playing for a perpetually undermanned CHL team, Konecny has consistently managed to produce at a better than point per game rate with little help, which should be weighted heavily when evaluating his flat offensive production between his age-16 and age-17 seasons.

When judging a player on a weaker team, I tend to like to look at their even-strength scoring, and prioritize that somewhat over the raw counting stats. By even-strength points per game, Konecny was the 4th most prolific 17-year-old in the OHL this season, behind only likely top-five picks Connor McDavid, Dylan Strome, and Mitch Marner. And he did it while racking up very few secondary assists (another strong indication that he wasn’t necessarily playing for an offensive juggernaut).

It also cannot be understated how fantastic Konecny’s 2013-14 season was. Getting regular top-6 minutes as a 16-year old is impressive enough, but leading your team with 70 points in 63 games is nearly unheard of. Konecny was an under-age offensive force this year, but wasn’t quite able to build on that thanks to a rough early season performance. In a lot of ways, Mitch Marner wound up having the season that many thought Konecny could have had at the start of this season.

Though Konecny is a bit undersized, he’s frequently described as an extraordinarily gritty player, something that matches my impressions from previous viewings. His skating is a polarizing topic, with some scouts describing it as a work in progress and others describing it as high-end. If Konecny goes off the board somewhat earlier than where he’s projected (mostly in the middle of the first-round), it’ll likely be because a particular team rates his skating ability. 

The grit side of Konecny’s game may prove critical to his NHL future, as most of the players who the PCS tool produces as comparable made their NHL living on hard nosed play and pest-like antics. Among his recent comps you’ll find players of this ilk like Dan Carcillo, Sean Avery and Steve Downie; although more traditional undersized scoring wingers like Jordan Eberle and Tyler Toffoli are among his comparables as well.

I’m of the opinion based on limited viewing that Konecny will probably move to the wing permanently as he moves up the professional ranks. I’ve generally thought that his defensive game was solid, although I’ve spoken with some in the industry who suggest that it’s just ok. Obviously it’ll need to improve if he’s going to play pivot in the show.

If Konecny can prove that 2014 was the exception and not the norm, he could grow into an extremely effective NHL player in very short order.

  • TrueBlue

    If Konecny falls, you draft him. No question. He won’t though.

    5’10” seems to be the generally accepted ‘cut-off’ where a player is still considered small but not small enough for it to be a serious detriment with only a few notable exceptions making it. This kid has genuine top-10 skill though. If you can get that at 23 you take it and run.

    • Fortitude00

      Have to disagree. If that level of skill is available to you at 23, you take it. Unfortunately, if that level of skill is still available at 18, someone will take it ahead of us.

  • Fortitude00

    The comparison for Konecny with Gallagher is based on size, and the grit factor. What has really made Gallagher successful, through junior and into the NHL, is his insane shot rate. He was taking upwards of 5 shots per game in his draft year, which is an elite shooting rate. I don’t know what Konecny’s shot rates are like – i couldn’t find them in a cursory glance around the internet. That is what will show whether Gallagher is a good comparison, I think.