While the Flyers continue their run to the playoffs, one of their top prospects should be playing in the OHL Playoffs right now. But instead of taking the ice for a crucial Game 3 for the Sarnia Sting, Travis Konecny is in Philadelphia, being evaluated for a shoulder injury by Flyers team doctors.
Konecny dealt with shoulder problems prior to being drafted, particularly last season when he missed significant time with a shoulder injury, a potential reason that he slipped to the Flyers, who traded up from the 29th overall pick to the 24th overall pick to acquire him.
The news from the visit proved to be good news, as Konecny will not require surgery on his shoulder. So while he may be limited for the remainder of the season, it will not affect his offseason regimen or chances to potentially make a bid to make the jump to the NHL next season.
The news of no surgery is really the most important part of this. If Konecny had needed surgery, he would be facing a lengthy recovery period of several months.
Traditionally, injuries to junior players are not announced by their professional teams. But Flyers GM Ron Hextall deferred to Sarnia to make any announcement, and it was Sarnia head coach and owner Derian Hatcher who confirmed the injury and visit to Philadelphia.
Now Konecny returns to Sarnia for the remainder of the OHL Playoffs. He will not play in Game 4 on Thursday night, but could become available later on if Sarnia continues playing.
Konecny has been in the news in the OHL for various reasons this season. His numbers have brought him into the spotlight. Konecny scored 30 goals and added 71 assists for 101 points in 60 games.
He was also part of a huge blockbuster trade between Sarnia and his former team, the Ottawa 67s, in January.
As his play continued to pick, particularly after the trade — he had 56 points in his final 31 games — there was a lot of discussion that Konecny could be ready to make the jump to the NHL next season and that if Sarnia was eliminated from the playoffs soon enough, he could join the Phantoms for the stretch run of the AHL season.
Sarnia could have potentially faced elimination in the OHL Playoffs with a Game 3 loss without Konecny, but defeated the Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds in Tuesday's Game 3. Sarnia trails in the series, 2-1, which continues on Thursday night.
Kevin Durso is managing editor for Flyerdelphia. Follow him on Twitter @Kevin_Durso.