The Philadelphia Flyers announced today that young forward Nolan Patrick will be out for seven to ten days with an upper-body injury suffered yesterday in Ottawa. Patrick played just 3:30 in the first period before leaving with the injury, one that only furthers the tough start to his 2018-19 campaign.
Selected second overall in 2017, Patrick was actually expected for quite some time to go even higher than that until several injuries ruined his draft season with the Brandon Wheat Kings. While Nico Hischier soared up draft boards in Halifax, eventually landing in the top spot, Patrick played just 33 games and was held completely out of the WHL playoffs. Still, he did make the Flyers out of camp last season and ended up playing 73 games, but didn’t have nearly the impact that Hischier enjoyed in New Jersey. In those 73 contests Patrick scored 30 points, but was limited to fewer than 13 minutes of ice time 24 times—something that Hischier experienced on just three occasions after quickly taking over as a top center option.
The comparison between the two will likely die down eventually, but Patrick hasn’t done much to quiet his critics early in the season. He’s been held scoreless in all four contest so far and before Wednesday’s short outing had registered a minus rating in every game. Though that certainly doesn’t tell the entire story, it’s obvious that the Flyers still don’t fully trust him as a top option down the middle. The fact that he’s now dealing with an injury is unfortunate given the rough start, especially as the team is also missing out on James van Riemsdyk and could use Patrick’s help on the powerplay.