With the 2017 NHL Draft now complete and in the history books. The focus of the Philadelphia Flyers now shifts to the next step of the rebuild process. This draft will go down as one of the most memorable in recent memory for Philadelphia Flyers and for good reason, as this draft jump starts the rebuild process by a full season.
Flyers fans deserve this moment as they have been craving a winner for many years. The proud orange clad philly fans support their team through the darkest of times. Without further delay, let’s take a deeper look into the first three selections the Flyers made on draft day.
Nolan Patrick, C, (2nd overall)
Patrick was born September 9, 1998, in Winnipeg, MB, CAN. Like most kids in the Winnipeg area, he started ice skating at a young age and instantly fell in love with the sport of hockey. Patrick eventually found his groove playing for the Brandon Wheat Kings in the WHL. He enjoyed a stellar 2015-16 season amassing 41 goals, and 61 assists for a total of 102 points in 72 games played. This was good for fifth in the league in scoring, and Patrick became the first 17 year old Wheat King to eclipse the 100 point plateau since 1976-77.
After the season it was revealed that Patrick suffered a sports hernia injury towards the latter part of April. However, Patrick played through the injury in the WHL Finals, and the 2016 Memorial Cup. At the completion of the Memorial Cup he did receive the sports hernia surgery.
Just six games into the 2016-17 season, Patrick suffered yet another set back. He suffered a complication of his previous season’s sports hernia injury. The injury continued through the months of November, December, and January. However, Patrick finally returned to the ice for the Brandon Wheat Kings in February. He had a solid season totalling 20 goals, and 26 assists for a total of 46 points in 33 games played. Patrick just has a knack of knowing where to be and where.
The young phenom comes from two athletic families. His father Stephen Patrick played 250 games in the NHL, and his uncle James Patrick is a former NHL Defenseman. James Patrick was also an assistant coach for the Dallas Stars. Patrick’s mother played volleyball for the University of Winnipeg Wesmen, and his two sisters also play hockey. One sister plays for the University of British Columbia, and the other plays minor bantam in Winnipeg. From an interview we conducted with Patrick prior to the draft, Patrick has a message to show what kind of person he really is.
“Well my dad and uncle played pro hockey. But, my dad defined me. He’s been an inspiration in my life. He has always been there for me. I can come to him for anything hockey related. My family is a huge part of my life, and they help make me into a better player.”
There is little doubt the Flyers will benefit from a natural goal scorer in Patrick. He has good hands, and knows how to pass the puck. Patrick has become a solid two way player at his young age, and there is little doubt he will be a mainstay in the NHL. Flyers fans will love this message from Patrick to the fans of now Philadelphia.
“To the fans I’m a passionate guy. I want to win. I know they want to win. You’re getting an energy type player who works very hard. I stop at nothing, and just want to succeed.”
Morgan Frost, C, (27th overall)
Frost was born on May 14, 1999, in Aurora, ON, Can. Of course he started playing pond hockey at a young age, and instantly fell in love with the sport. H eventually found his way to play for the Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds in 2015-16. For the season he registered 7 goals, and 20 assists for a total of 27 points in 65 games played.
The young dynamic center wanted to improve on his first year totals with the Greyhounds club. He had the will and power to train hard in the off-season. His hard work paid off in a big way as he found his groove in the 2016-17 season. Frost enjoyed a career year tallying 20 goals and 42 assists for a total of 62 points in 67 games played.
This young Greyhound product, Frost has a great hockey IQ, and the tenacity to become a mainstay in the NHL. After Flyers General Manager Ron Hextall traded a young centerman Brayden Schenn to the St. Louis Blues for the 27th overall selection, Hextall had to ensure that the Flyers were getting a quality player with the pick.
Frost comes from a family enriched in the sport of hockey. His father Andy Frost is the Toronto Maple Leafs public address announcer. This 6’0″, 172 pound young centerman does not want to let his family down. Frost has the speed to compete at a high level in the NHL. He won the 30-meter skate competition at the CHL’s Top Prospect Sports Testing Combine both with and without the puck. Moreover, the coaching staff of the Greyhounds trust Frost to play in all situations on special teams.
The Flyers should benefit from this young flashy center in Frost. He has the will and the way to become a mainstay in the NHL. If a play breaks down, he is relentless and can put the puck in places for his teammates to make a play. These type of actions cannot be taught, and for that matter Hextall was a geneious making this move to scoop him up.
Isaac Ratcliffe, LW, (35th overall)
Ratcliffe was born on February 15, 1999, in London, ON, CAN. His love and passion for the sport found himself playing for the Guelph Storm for the 2015-16 season. He endured quite a season registering 5 goals, and 8 assists for a total of 13 points in 46 games. After this so-so season, Ratcliffe worked his tail off in the off season.
The young 18 year old prospect, Ratcliffe worked hard in the off-season to improve his game. His hard work paid off in a big way, as he enjoyed a career year for the Guelph Storm in 2016-17. He registered 28 goals, and 26 assists for 54 points in 67 games played. This really solidified his status for the upcoming NHL Draft. Ratcliffe has a lot to be thankful for as he describes from an interview we had with him previously before the draft.
“It’s an unbelievable feeling. It’s what I have been working towards my whole life, and it’s been a dream of mine ever since I can remember. It hasn’t truly kicked in yet, knowing that it’s the beginning to come true. My family has supported me all through this journey to get here, and they provided me every tool that I’ve needed. I can’t thank them enough for that.”
If you saw Ratcliffe play for the Guelph Storm last season, one would have noticed instantly that his hockey IQ vastly improved from the prior year. He has a knack of knowing where to be, or where his teammates were on the ice at all times. His success was fueled by his dedication for the game.
The Flyers are very much in need of left wingers. Ratcliffe may be the answer to their prayers. He’s got the will and the tenacity to excel in the NHL. Hextall gave up two draft picks in a trade with the Arizona Coyotes to snag Ratcliffe on draft day. Well there is little doubt the Flyers are getting a stud winger. Just listen to this message from Ratcliffe for now the fans of Philadelphia,
“I’ll prove myself every single day with how I play on the ice and how I act off it as well. If you have faith in me as a player, I will push myself every single day to be the best I can be.”
The Flyers have until 5 p.m. today to resign notable restricted free agents such as, Taylor Leier, Mike Vecchione, Anthony Stolarz, Alex Lyon, and Scott Laughton.
Stay tuned with us, as this draft series will continue tomorrow with picks 4-6. Until then Flyers fans, remember the future is bright in Flyer land. Follow me on Twitter @JameyBaskow for all Flyers updates.
Mandatory Credit: David Banks-USA TODAY Sports