The last time Flyers fans got to see former second-overall pick Nolan Patrick on the ice was in a 6-2 loss to Dallas during the 2018-19 campaign. He registered an assist that game, capping a 31-point season. It’s been a long road for the 22-year-old center, who has battled hard against a migraine condition over the past couple of years. But after signing a one-year contract with the Flyers, he’s back in the building and skating with his teammates as the new season draws ever nearer.
Patrick started taking part in scrimmages towards the end of 2020, working out with notable draft talent and working towards his ultimate return to Flyers hockey.
He returned to practice prior to the season’s abrupt suspension and the team were nothing short of 100% behind the former second-overall pick, then, and that remains the same with the new Hockey year approaching.
“Yeah, obviously I’ve been in touch with Patty a lot. He actually was up in the Brandon [Manitoba] area, lives a couple houses down from where I live.” Said defenseman Travis Sainheim this week. “Saw him a lot. We were working out a lot together and training together. He’s been awesome. His skillset is next level. We knew that since the day he got drafted. It’s awesome seeing him back out there skating. Looking forward to playing with him again.”
Nolan Patrick played in 145 games as a Flyer and in that time has amassed 26 goals, 35 assists, combining for 61 total points. The upside is clearly still there and while public perception may have wavered, the internal view on Patrick never did, as Selke winner Sean Couturier told reporters.
“I’ve been here for a week now. It’s been a little over a week. He looks good. He’s skating well. We all know the talent and the skill that Nolan has. We’re excited to have him back. He could be a big asset for us this year.”
GM Chuck Fletcher was the man who orchestrated the qualifying offer for Patrick to ponder and as expected, he remains conservative but confident on the 22-year-old.
“Nolan, I watched him skate today.” Fletcher said earlier this week. “He’s an amazingly talented young man. He looked great. Feels good. Again, we’ll wait for the doctors to meet with him for the pre-season physical. Life is unpredictable. We certainly saw that last year. I can’t make predictions on anybody. I think we’re in a good shape going into camp and we’re excited to get these two players back.”
Patrick is still technically on injured reserve, meaning that his new cap hit of $847,125 won’t take hold until he returns to action. That might be sooner than we think. Regardless, it’s encouraging to hear that his teammates are embracing his return and are just as excited about it as the fans.
Photo by Andy Lewis/Icon Sportswire