Current team: Ottawa 67's (OHL)
Weight: 172 lbs.
Central Scouting Ranking: 14
ISS Ranking: 12
Sabres GM Tim Murray has stated that he'd like to either trade the Sabres second first-round pick for an NHL player or use it to move up higher in the draft. If he wants to land Travis Konecny, he'll likely need to do the latter.
Ottawa's captain has made an impact on the Ontario Hockey League since the 67's selected him first overall in the amateur draft. He had a stellar rookie season, leading all first-year players in points and goals, and was named the OHL Rookie of the Year.
He's a sound two-way player who has excelled in almost every skill at the OHL level. He was voted the top skater and second best stickhandler by coaches from the OHL's Eastern Conference, and is also heavily complimented for his hard shot.
This season he stayed on pretty much the same level scoring wise, finishing with two less points than his rookie year. He returned to the 67's in the playoffs after suffering an injury,and didn't seem to miss a beat. He notched ten points in five games. He slowly moved his way up draft boards, moving from a midterm grade of 25th to 14th among North American skaters in the final Central Scouting ranking.
He participated in the OHL All-Star Game in January, recording the best off-ice testing scores that took place prior to the event. During the game he scored two goals and an assist, leading to him being selected as the MVP of the event.
Konecny doesn't necessarily have the huge frame that many scouts look for, but he is a fiery player who was a penalty minutes machine up until juniors. The Sabres have drafted towards the larger end of the scale as of late, but that could add for more leeway to take on a player like Konecny. The NHL is a copycat league, and Chicago and Tampa are two of the smaller teams out there.
The Sabres biggest weakness right now is likely the right wing, so the fact that Konecny can play both that and center could make him a very appealing option for the Sabres. Although a player taken toward the middle of the first round will likely take a few years to reach the NHL, and GMs don't always draft for current need, Murray could see that his core of players now isn't all that different than what it will be in a few seasons.
What They Are Saying
"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."
-Curtis Joe, Elite Prospects
"He's a highly skilled forward who never quits. He skates very well, has excellent speed, is not afraid to get involved in battles and has no fear of taking the puck to the net."
-Chris Edwards, NHL Central Scouting
"It's his engine, it's incredible — the kid never stops. He has no mirrors in his house. He has no idea how small he is because he competes so hard against everybody, doesn't matter the size. His shot, his character, obviously his leadership in the locker room, he's going to be a pro, it's that simple. He does the little things like a pro and trains like a pro."
-Ottawa 67's coach Jeff Brown, via Yahoo!
"Along with top-notch skill, Konecny plays a fearless game, which has led to the series of injuries in his young career, from concussions to shoulder maladies. That's when playing with a smaller frame can lead to durability issues at the next level. But evaluators can also find a positive spin when they like a kid like Konecny. 'He's a dynamic small player,' said another scout. 'He'll have to manage how he plays - that's one concern I have - but I'd rather have a guy that gets dirty than one who stays on the perimeter."
-The Hockey News