It’s early, but Philadelphia Flyers center Nolan Patrick is struggling to live up to his expectations as a number two overall pick
The Philadelphia Flyers got a bit lucky this offseason. Despite having the fifth-worst chances of having a top three draft pick, they got the second overall pick. After the New Jersey Devils drafted Nico Hischier with the first pick, center Nolan Patrick was the obvious pick at number two.
Maybe it’s because Hischier is impressing in his rookie season. But Patrick isn’t living up to expectations so far. Granted, he’s in that awkward position where he’s too good for juniors, yet can’t be sent down to the AHL.
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Don’t get me wrong, I love Nolan Patrick. He has the skills to be a legitimate first line center in the NHL. There is a reason why he was chosen second overall and is already playing in the NHL. My only worry and everyone’s worry is his injuries in his past.
During his last year with the Brandon Wheat Kings, Patrick only played 33 games. He would put up 46 points, which is still good. But what if he played a full season? What if he never did get injured in that season? Those are still good numbers for only playing 33 games but a full season could have seen Patrick surpass 100 points.
He has just eight points in his first 33 NHL games. So what’s wrong with him?
What’s Wrong With Nolan Patrick?
His season started off strong, but past Injuries caught up to him. When the season started, Patrick was averaging 12 to 14 minutes of TOI with 18-20 shifts per night. It took him only three games to get his first NHL point and four for his first NHL goal. He was finding himself at home as the Flyers second line center.
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Then the game against the Anaheim Ducks on October 24th happened. Patrick was checked into the boards by Chris Wagner. It was later announced by general manager Ron Hextall that he would not return to the game with a suspected concussion.
Patrick would make his return on November 16th against the Winnipeg Jets. He looked a bit rusty and was only given about eight minutes of playing time.
Same Injury, Different Story
Before the 2016-17 season, Claude Giroux and Shayne Gostisbehere both had abdominal surgery. They both would struggle in the first half of the season. Some were saying Giroux was on a decline. Others saying Gostisbehere was having the infamous sophomore slump.
Once January came around and the second half of the season started, both players found their game again. The Flyers really took a blow having them struggle in the first half because Giroux and Gostisbehere are two of their best players. So far this season, both are having tremendous bounce-back seasons.
What does this have to do with Patrick? Well in the summer of 2016, Patrick had abdominal surgery just like Gostisbehere. If it took Giroux and Gostisbehere 41 games to find their game again, maybe the same will happen with Patrick. During the game against the Buffalo Sabres on January 7th, the rookie’s skating seemed to finally be coming back to him.
Flyers Bye Week Will Help Patrick
The NHL is requiring every team to have a mandatory bye week this month. Some have only five days, and some have a full seven. The Flyers were only given five and don’t play again until Saturday, January 13th against the New Jersey Devils.
With the rest and more time to train before the next game, I have a feeling Patrick will come out flying (no pun indented) versus the Devils. What makes this game even better is that it’s Patrick and the Flyers versus Nico Hischier and the Devils. This game is going to be one to remember and Patrick should have a strong game.