Flyers have a tricky decision to make regarding the future of Nolan Patrick


Nolan Patrick is a free agent this upcoming offseason. The Philadelphia Flyers can negotiate with caution as Patrick, and a new agent, recalibrate.

Once a player declares eligible for a draft, they’re automatically hoping that their draft spot lands a favorable contract. That’s part of what makes a trending topic out of a first-round player slipping into the second. For the player, it’s as much a mental attack as it could be financially. In the interest of Nolan Patrick, he’s the former second overall pick by the Philadelphia Flyers. Recently, he’s hired this third agent in as many NHL seasons as he analyzes his future.

Upon signing his first Flyers contract, he initialed the dotted line for 3yrs/$10.725mil (before settling for $874,125 this season.) He is valued too high for a bottom-six forward under Alain Vigneault. Momentarily, Philadelphia is again overpaying a player over their value. By hiring his third agent, Patrick knows his introduction to the NHL didn’t go according to plan.

Right now, he’s looking for an agent with his best interest in mind to extend a playing career. That requires an honest assessment of if the franchise is a good fit. Is Patrick considering a reset with another NHL team?

It’s likely, but you can’t blame Nolan Patrick. Don’t forget the thesis: a favorable contract.

Chuck Fletcher’s prove it deal didn’t yield the correct results.

Ideally, Fletcher would be careful before investing more into Patrick. When a player bounces back into their groove, it feels great. Unfortunately, Patrick regressed after his reintroduction season in 2020-2021. Another one-year contract feels like putting too much money into a project.

A new agent will want to get his client the most money for his performance. Following an underwhelming season acting as a contract year, the Flyers could be wise to cut ties. He played in all but four games but only tallied nine points with a -30 rating. Of all the Philadelphia forwards to play 20+ games, Patrick depreciated the greatest. A pay raise won’t come from Fletcher, but another opportunity could provide as refreshing a beginning as they come.

By expansion, the Seattle Kraken offers a change of scenery. A change in coaching systems could jumpstart Patrick to a new NHL life.

Ron Francis could gamble for a payout by selecting Patrick from the Flyers in the 2021 NHL Expansion Draft. Within him is a solid hockey player. He could benefit from a philosophy update under a new head coach within the middle-six of a lineup.

The most Philadelphia sports thing would be Nolan Patrick revitalizing his career on another team.

Vigneault and Fletcher stand beside Patrick, wanting to see his potential through. For a moment, let’s consider he wants to stay with the Flyers. Patrick takes advantage of a full-offseason healthy to lay it all on the line on another one-year deal. At the end of 2021-2022, Vigneault and Fletcher unquestionably know his ceiling.

First, Patrick should understand Philadelphia will treat another opportunity to compete on an NHL roster as an alternative to a pay increase. After a conversation with Fletcher, he’ll need to adjust his career projection. Should he risk competing with a front office that believes in him but potentially in a system that doesn’t maximize his potential? The other option creates an equal extreme, performing a leap of faith into uncharted territory to bet on himself. More critical than contract negotiations, his career trajectory weighs heavier.

The Flyers fanbase couldn’t help but become excited when Patrick began skating and participating in scrimmages the last offseason. Excitement doesn’t come from a fanbase who doesn’t believe. Currently, Vigneault and Fletcher believe patience is a virtue.

Just don’t wait too long by clogging money away from other team issues. Another several hundred thousand on the salary cap this season could win a close negotiation for a top-pair defenseman.

All of Philadelphia will let the Flyers front office know if Patrick doesn’t pan out next season under a new deal because another team weakness needed adjustment.

Photo Credit: Alex McIntyre

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