By Kevin Durso, Sports Talk Philly editor
Flyers training camp opened on Friday with two notable absences at forward. One was expected. One was not.
Obviously, Travis Konecny was not at the first day of training camp with the Flyers while working toward a new contract. Nolan Patrick was also an absence, and the news was not good.
Patrick will be sidelined with an upper-body injury and Chuck Fletcher announced that it will be week-to-week. He said he is not sure if Patrick will be ready at the start of the regular season.
This is a critical year for Patrick. In his first two seasons in the NHL, he has struggled to find consistency and dealt with injury in each year. His third season gets off to a similar start as he recovers from another injury.
Patrick played in 73 games in his rookie season, scoring 13 goals and 30 points. He played in 72 games last season, scoring 13 goals and 31 points.
As for Konecny, his contract situation remains an issue. While talks are ongoing, Fletcher said there is still a ways to go for a deal, which means this will likely drag on for at least another day. Things do change quickly when it comes to contracts, and now that Ivan Provorov’s deal is done, all focus shifts to Konecny.
Konecny is reportedly seeking a long-term deal and the two sides have not yet been able to agree on the figures of a deal.
Fletcher noted that the desire for a long-term deal is complicated in negotiations. The Flyers have approximately $6.67 million in cap space left for this season and a long-term deal indicates a larger cap hit is what Konecny desires, and seemed to be at a loss for words over the situation.
"I honestly don't know what to say," Fletcher said. "I've been doing this 25 years, I think we go about it the right way, but we just can't seem to get to the same language on this one. Still have a ways to go.
"It certainly doesn't help him. For us, he's a good player and can help our team. For now, you guys hear these clichés all the time, but it's no different than when you get an injury during the season, you don't have a player. We believe we have good depth, we like our depth, there's opportunity now for other players to step up and show what they can do. We'd rather Travis was here, but he's not, so we just have to move on without him and hopefully at some point he gets in."
New head coach Alain Vigneault expressed his displeasure with Konecny not being in camp on Day 1 and continuing to be absent until the contract situation is resolved.
"I’m very disappointed that TK is not here," Vigneault said. "It’s the start of a new era, a new group, felt it was very important for everybody to be here. With my time in the NHL, my experience, anybody that falls behind, a lot of time whether it’s an injury or in TK’s situation not coming to camp, usually it takes them a little bit of time to get back at it, especially at this time with a new coaching staff and a new way of doing things. It’s unfortunate but I’m going to work with the players that are here and going to work extremely hard with those players."
The Flyers opened camp by playing some of their prospect forwards like Morgan Frost, Joel Farabee and Isaac Ratcliffe with established veterans. Farabee took what many would project as Konecny’s spot alongside Sean Couturier and Claude Giroux. Frost and Ratcliffe were on a line with Jake Voracek.
Camp continues on Saturday morning starting at 8:30 a.m. with additional sessions for other groups starting at 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. at the SkateZone in Voorhees.