WALKING AROUND Stone Harbor, N.J., at the annual "Trial on the Isle" portion of Flyers prospect development camp, one couldn't help but hear the buzz from fans surrounding the team's future defensive corps.
The same could be said of the atmosphere throughout the week at the team's practice facility in Voorhees, N.J., especially considering the Flyers added seventh overall pick Ivan Provorov to a future crop that already was stockpiled with plenty of talent, including Shayne Gostisbehere, Travis Sanheim, Samuel Morin and Robert Hagg - among others.
Fans have been glued to Provorov at the Skate Zone, and especially at the Shore on Wednesday, when Provorov helped conduct a street-hockey skills clinic with children at Stone Harbor Elementary.
It's almost as if some forget the Flyers had a second first-round pick in June's draft, obtained when they moved up five spots to select Travis Konecny, a 5-10 forward from London, Ontario.
Is he slipping under the radar a bit at development camp?
"Yeah, I guess so," Konecny said when asked whether that was a possibility. "I really never thought of it that way. I'm just coming into camp and I'm going to treat it, say, I was the first pick, treat it the same way and work hard. I'm not going to worry about anything else."
Konecny, 18, was a projected top-15 talent entering last month's draft after tallying 29 goals and 39 assists for 68 points in 60 games last year for the Ottawa 67's, in the Ontario Hockey League.
But as the draft progressed into the high teens and low 20s, Konecny hadn't heard his name called. That's when the Flyers decided to pounce. Holding the 29th pick in the draft, which they had acquired from Tampa Bay in the Braydon Coburn trade, the Flyers made a trade with Toronto and moved up to No. 24 to snag an offensive talent.
"It's motivating," Konecny said. "When I went into the day, I wasn't really sure where I was going to end up anyway, so it wasn't like it was a disappointment. Being able to slip to 24 and come to Philadelphia was definitely not something I was upset about. It was awesome, and I was excited about it."
Konecny says he models his game after players such as Montreal's Brendan Gallagher and Carolina speedster Jeff Skinner. He also said eventually he'd like to step into a leadership role, like Jonathan Toews, captain of the three-time Stanley Cup champion Chicago Blackhawks. Konecny is the captain of the 67's.
Though a bit undersized, Konecny has shown he has the strength to succeed at a high level. During fitness testing at the NHL Scouting Combine, he finished second, with 13 pull-ups, and tied for fourth with second overall pick Jack Eichel in the bench-pressing competition, with 16 repetitions.
Yesterday, Konecny showed off a combination of his speed and power. During a timed speed-burst drill, in which players were required to start flat-footed on the goal line and sprint to the top of the closest faceoff circle, Konecny was third, with a time of 1.85 seconds. Only Nicolas Aube-Kubel (1.69) and Danick Martel (1.77) had quicker bursts.
However, the front office isn't really paying attention to results from this week.
"The one thing that we stress before this camp is this is not an evaluation camp," Flyers general manager Ron Hextall said. "We're not here to evaluate the young players, we're here to watch the young players, and our coaches are here to help the young players get better."
The phrase being thrown around most this week is, "learning how to be a pro." It's more of a six-day boot camp, where 33 prospects learn the intricacies of being a professional hockey player, from a regimented workout schedule, to interacting with fans and even dealing with the media. All in preparation for September's training camp.
On the ice especially, Konecny said he is learning.
"You play hockey all the time and you don't really notice the things that they're trying to teach you here and they're just little," Konecny said. "Whether it's the way to drive to the net or how to protect the puck, I think all the little things about my game I want to improve.
"They're doing stuff when you're jumping on the ice, trying to land and take shots. As silly as that may seem to some people, it actually helps a lot. You never know when you're going to be put in the situations, thrown off balance having to shoot the puck."
Konecny said he will head to Calgary for Team Canada's World Junior Hockey training camp between now and Flyers training camp.
He'll also train on his own and spend some time with his family before coming back in September to learn his fate; which is likely back to Ottawa.