It’s safe to say the expectations were high for Nolan Patrick. Drafted second overall after the Flyers miraculously jumped from 13th to second in the draft, Patrick has been eased into his role as a full-time NHLer and has been making huge strides in his development.
It took Patrick three games to notch his first assist and only four games to tally his first NHL goal.
One to remember. pic.twitter.com/9BeZkHX6uj
— Philadelphia Flyers (@NHLFlyers) October 11, 2017
But following those moments, he only scored once in 35 games, he was sidelined with an injury after taking a big hit from Chris Wagner and everything seemed to be going wrong the Flyers.
Now in March, Patrick has slotted himself in as the second line center of the Flyers and has been lighting the lamp. In his last 10 games, he’s buried 5 goals and chalked up 3 assists, playing with more confidence and poise.
Now, were the struggles of Patrick early in the season entirely his fault?
Patrick was not put in a position to produce. He barely saw any power play time, played with mediocre linemates and definitely wasn’t 100% following his sports hernia’s. He was slower than most of the players and didn’t seem to have that extra gear to his game.
Injuries can be difficult to deal with, but kudos to coach Hakstol for not throwing Patrick to the wolves and giving him top-6 minutes and power play responsibilities against other teams’ top players. Easing him in was the right thing to do and it’s paying off now.
Patrick looks better than, he now appears to have healed from his injury and he’s kicked his game up a notch.
Nasty between-the-legs pass from Nolan Patrick to set up Voracek pic.twitter.com/ehdu5ctT2k
— Brady Trettenero (@BradyTrett) March 9, 2018
He received additional time on the man advantage due to the injury to Wayne Simmonds and he made the most of it by potting three goals. Much like his former Brandon teammate and now Flyers teammate Ivan Provorov, he plays a complete game.
Patrick is responsible in his own end for a rookie and is only going to get better. The Flyers are hoping he can become an Anze Kopitar or Ryan Getzlaf type, who isn’t as flashy as some superstars but is effective in all situations and can pile up the points.
The Flyers are making a push for the playoffs and have hit a rough stretch, but they’ve shown a lot of promise this year with their young guns entering the lineup. For a team that was considered a bubble playoff team by many, they’ve definitely exceeded expectations and this is only the beginning.