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Provorov, Konecny at Flyers camp would be helpful, Vigneault says: report

Coach wants to have restricted free agent defenseman, forward from start

by NHL.com @NHLdotcom

Ivan Provorov and Travis Konecny each remains a restircted free agent, and Philadelphia Flyers coach Alain Vigneault said it would help him if they are signed before training camp opens Sept. 13.

Vigneault, hired April 15 to replace Scott Gordon, will be installing a new system and said Thursday he believes it would be advantageous for himself and the players to have a full roster in place.

"I have nothing to do with contract negotiations, I made that very clear to them," Vigneault told the Courier-Post. "I also made very clear that I'm the new coach and we've got a new staff and we're trying to put in a new system, that it would be helpful for them and the team to be here from the start. That's where I'm going to go with that. I made that pretty clear for them.

"It would be probably better for them, meaning player and agent and management, to find a common ground and make this work. It would be beneficial for everybody."

Provorov, the No. 7 pick of the 2015 NHL Draft, had 26 points (seven goals, 19 assists) in 82 games last season, after he tied for the NHL lead among defensemen with 17 goals in 2017-18. The 22-year-old has led the Flyers in average ice time per game each of the past three seasons and has 97 points (30 goals, 67 assists) in 246 NHL games.

He likely will play with Matt Niskanen, acquired in a trade with the Washington Capitals on June 14, on the top defense pair.

Konecny, the No. 24 pick of the 2015 draft, had his NHL-best 49 points (24 goals, 25 assists) in 82 games. The 22-year-old forward has 124 points (59 goals, 65 assists) in 233 games.

He could start the season at right wing on the top line with center Sean Couturier and left wing Claude Giroux.

"I've talked to both those guys," Vigneault said of Provorov and Konecny. "Both of them, for me, seemed very excited about the upcoming year. Both seemed to me, and obviously this was over the phone, both seemed very anxious to get with their teammates. It makes sense. They're Flyers and they want to be part of the team."

General manager Chuck Fletcher told the Philadelphia Inquirer he wasn't concerned about the pace of negotiations with either player. He cited the high number of top-end restricted free agents remaining unsigned, among them forwards Mitchell Marner of the Toronto Maple Leafs, Mikko Rantanen of the Colorado Avalanche, and Patrik Laine and Kyle Connor of the Winnipeg Jets, and defensemen Zach Werenski of the Columbus Blue Jackets and Charlie McAvoy of the Boston Bruins.

"We'll keep working at it," Fletcher said Aug. 26. "They're good young players and we expect to have them signed and ready to go as soon as we can. … Right now, the landscape leaguewide is murky, and I think things will start to clear up in the next few weeks. At this point I'm not concerned. This has been the trend the last few years."

Tweet from @davegisaac: ���I feel that I���m coming to Philly at a good time.��� Alain Vigneault has set up shop with the #Flyers. Here���s his outlook, plus what Carter Hart and Sean Couturier picked up on at World Championships: https://t.co/PZ62ikRdze

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