First Round Targets: Travis Konecny

Ottawa 67’s captain and forward Travis Konecny can be described as lot of things. The only player to be drafted ahead of Dylan Strome in the 2013 OHL draft as the first overall pick, Konecny was also the 2013-14 OHL Rookie of the Year. He’s also first cousins with Vancouver Canucks forward Bo Horvat, and really good friends with Kingston Frontenacs forward and polarizing draft prospect Lawson Crouse, as they were schoolmates at North York’s PEAC School for Elite Athletes (which also educated Connor McDavid, among others). Konecny also captained the 2014 U18 IIHF gold medallists, on a roster that basically screams first round of the 2015 draft.

But where Konecny ends up in the draft right now is anyone’s best guess, ranked anywhere in the 10-20 range in most major scouting services. Konecny may rise due to a certain GM’s preference, or fall due to the possibility he doesn’t fit into anyone’s plan. While perhaps not likely, there’s an outside chance that he’ll still be on the board when the Leafs are picking at 24th, so it’s sensible to analyze if he’ll fit in with the roster. 

The Numbers

Konecny, who played both centre and wing in his time in Ottawa, posted an impressive 10 points in 5 playoff games this OHL post-season, bowing out in five games to Niagara. He posted 26 goals and 44 assists (25 primary) in his rookie year in 63 games to lead his team in scoring, before putting up 29 goals and 39 assists (27 primary) this past year over 60 games. CHLstats.com’s estimated points/60 minutes puts Konecny at 10th this season amongst regular 17 year old forwards in the OHL. Respectable, but not off-the chart numbers.

The Eye Test

Konecny possesses the ability to score in a number of different ways. Using his hands:

Using his speed:

And sometimes, just with a quick flick of the wrist:

One of Konecny’s biggest assets comes from his athletic ability and workhorse-like determination, evidence by his first place finish at the off-ice conditioning component at the CHL-NHL Top Prospects Game this past year. Nearly every scouting report you’ll read will make reference to his work ethic, leadership, and never-say-die attitude.

 

The alltime winningest coach in CHL history, Brian Kilrea, had this to say about Konecny:

“He’d go the same speed whether it was the start of the game to the finish.”

Clearly, Konecny posseses all sorts of talents, both tangible and intangible.

But while a multi-faceted goal scorer and playmaker, arguably the oddest thing about Konecny is that he hasn’t really grown much as an individual in his time in the OHL. Coming in at the OHL draft at 5’10”, 170 lbs, Konecny now measures at…  5’10”, 175 lbs. Not exactly the biggest growth spurt you’d expect out of a teenager. Perhaps Konecny’s a late bloomer, but he’s also not booming with height. 

Additionally, it wouldn’t be too much of a stretch to say that while Konecny’s rookie year was extremely impressive, his second season actually saw him plateau at very similar statistics to his first OHL season. Talented, sure, but perhaps not the explosion the 67s were expecting with the first overall pick. Dylan Strome (2nd overall), Mitch Marner (19th), and Blake Speers (11th) all had better offensive seasons in their second OHL season’s by points per game. Konecny has been a very solid OHL forward, for sure, but also not eye-popping stats for a draft year where intially he looked like he could be challenging for a top-5 pick.

Does he make the Leafs’ Shortlist?

If Konecny is still available when the Leafs pick at 24, he may very well end up in the Blue and White. Konecny may not be the most attractive selection in this draft, but for a mid-late first round-pick, he also doesn’t seem like the worst player to work with. If the Leafs are looking for a guy to develop and he’s still available, Konecny may be the one to pick, with clear natural athletic ability, leadership skills, and what could be a dream young leader for a coach like Mike Babcock. For a team supposedly lacking in leadership, a kid captaining an OHL team at 17 who’s familiar with the city of Toronto might be a good start. Konecny may never develop into a true star player, but he does at least appear to be able to make an impact on any hockey team that he suits up for. Whether that translates to the NHL is yet to be determined.

Social Media Skills

Well, maybe not the best choice for the Leafs. There’s also this, posted the day after the Leafs’ infamous snub earlier this year.

Travis Konecny, folks. Already a pro at handling the tough East Coast media.

Also in this series:

First Round Targets: Nick Merkley

  • Brooksterman

    This is my guy.. if he’s still there at 24 then take him! Please…

    I’d even consider moving up 3-4 spots if it makes sense.

    Reminds me a lot of Couture..

  • Gary Empey

    If the leafs draft a forward in the #4 spot then they must take the best defenceman available in this spot.
    We have ignored defence for 10 frigging years and look where it has got us.

    Reminds me a lot of the scouts that were just fired.

  • Poluza

    I’d be very surprised to see Konecny fall as far as 24th, but I would be so happy if he did. He seems to be cut from the same cloth as Palat/Johnson/Kucherov. If the Leafs could score a player of that skill level that late in the round, do it!

  • giproc

    BPA… as long as he’s a centre or dman…. the two areas that have been neglected for the better part of 5 decades.

    I can’t find any prospect mock lists that have Konecny falling past about 15, but there should be some very good dman prospects at 24 if all of the top 10 centres are gone before then as predicted by most pundits.

    • NoLeafFanHere

      Have you ever watched Konecny play? You would be hard pressed to find a more physical player and one so complete in skill and able to play in any situation, PP PK wing centre.

      Not that I want this talent wasted in Toronto!