Looking ahead: What does 2018 hold for Flyers’ sophomore sensation Nolan Patrick?


Back at the end of April my Philly Sports Network colleague, Austin Mitchell, wrote an article about Nolan Patrick. The article was a great retrospective at Patrick’s rookie season, comparing him to other recent #2 overall draft picks. If you haven’t done so, I would highly recommend reading his article before proceeding with mine.

A look back at the rookie season of the Flyers’ second overall pick Nolan Patrick

Now that the NHL draft has completed and free agency started we can begin to look forward to next season.  Specifically, looking ahead and perhaps trying to predict reasonable expectations for Nolan Patrick in year two.  Let’s take a look at #2 overall draft picks, dating back to the 2003 NHL Draft, and compare their first two seasons.

Eric Staal (#2 Overall in 2003)

First Season: 11G-20A-31P

Second Season: 45G-55A-100P

Evgeni Malkin (#2 Overall in 2004)

First Season: 33G-52A-85P

Second Season: 47G-59A-106P

Bobby Ryan (#2 Overall in 2005)

First Season: 31G-26A-57P

Second Season: 35G-29A-64P

Jordan Staal (#2 Overall in 2006)

First Season: 29G-13A-42P

Second Season: 12G-16A-28P

James van Riemsdyk (#2 Overall in 2007)

First Season: 15G-20A-35P

Second Season: 21G-19A-40P

Tyler Seguin (#2 Overall in 2010)

First Season: 11G-11A-22P

Second Season: 29G-38A-67P

Gabriel Landeskog (#2 Overall in 2011)

First Season: 22G-30A-52P

*Second Season: 26G-39A-65P

*This is actually Landeskog’s third season as I excluded his actual second season as it was a strike shortened season.

Aleksander Barkov (#2 Overall in 2013)

First Season: 8G-16A-24P

Second Season: 16G-20A-36P

Sam Reinhart (#2 Overall in 2014)

First Season: 23G-19A-42P

Second Season: 17G-30A-47P

Jack Eichel (#2 Overall in 2015)

First Season: 24G-32A-56P

Second Season: 24G-33A-57P

Patrik Laine (#2 Overall in 2016)

First Season: 36G-28A-64P

Second Season: 44G-26A-70P

Nolan Patrick (#2 Overall in 2017)

First Season: 13G-17A-30P

Second Season: ???

Nolan Patrick’s rookie season compares very favorably to Eric Staal and, ironically (perhaps) his current linemate, James van Riemsdyk. In a perfect world I’m sure Flyers fans would love to see Patrick’s second year production rate increase mirror that of Eric Staal or Tyler Seguin. I’m right there with you, but unfortunately it is not a perfect world. My goal is to create a reasonable expectation for Nolan Patrick.

Expecting Patrick to match what Staal or Seguin did in their second year, while ideal, falls short of reasonable. The average year two for the former #2 overall picks is 29G-33A-62P.  The overall trend seems to be a 30-35% increase in goals, assists, and points from year one to year two. If Nolan Patrick followed this rate increase trend he would fall short of the average second season.  There are also other factors to consider in regards to Nolan Patrick. He was coming off an injury and offseason surgery, he played less minutes than most other #2 overall picks, and his production increased over the latter portion of his rookie season.

It is safe to assume that Nolan Patrick will see more minutes and will be healthier entering the season. Thus, I think it is reasonable to split the difference between average second season production and average rate increase. My reasonable prediction/expectation for Nolan Patrick in year two is: 23G-28A-51P. Would I love for him to surpass those numbers? Sure, and I think it is possible.  =However, I think it is important for Flyers fans to manage expectations and to not expect too much, too soon.

Using the 2017-2018 season for reference those numbers would’ve put Patrick fifth on the Flyers in goals, assists, and points.  Not bad for a soon-to-be 20 year old.  There will probably be a few fans who think that a 51 point season for Patrick would be a disappointment. Claude Giroux didn’t eclipse 50 points until his third season. It took Couturier until his seventh season to pass 50 points. Wayne Simmonds took six seasons to surpass 50 points, JVR not until his fifth season and it will take Konecny at least three seasons. Jake Voracek (a former #7 overall pick) had exactly 50 points in his second season, but didn’t reach that mark again until his sixth season. Good things await both Nolan Patrick and the Flyers moving forward. Flyers fans just need to sit back, relax, and let the good times roll.