When Nolan Patrick was drafted second overall by the Philadelphia Flyers in 2017, a lot was expected of the former WHL phenom. Patrick got off to a solid, if unspectacular start to his pro career, logging 61 points in 145 games through his first two seasons. However, Patrick missed the entire 2019-20 season due to migraines suffered as a result of multiple concussions. Patrick returned to action this season and was fortunately able to play in 52 of the Flyers’ 56 games, but his production fell off immensely to just nine points and he posted a team-worst -30 rating. Entering another off-season in which he will be a restricted free agent, there is some uncertainty about Patrick’s future.
Unsurprisingly, Patrick is looking to make a change. Before that can happen on the ice, it will come with his representation. TSN’s Frank Seravalli reports that Patrick has switched agencies. His third agent in three years is now Rich Evans of Point West, who will be tasked with trying to earn Patrick a raise on his current underwhelming deal. The top pick initially signed an entry-level deal worth up to $3.575MM in bonuses, but after missing last season he was forced to settle for a one-year, $874K pact as an RFA last summer. Even though his performance this season was far below expectations, Patrick hopes that his ability to stay on the ice will lead to some sort of bump in pay.
Perhaps more of a surprise is that Seravalli also reports that Patrick and his new agent will also re-evaluate his fit in Philadelphia. Seravalli believes that Patrick’s camp may be looking for a fresh start elsewhere. His stock has fallen so far since the Flyers’ used their highest pick since James van Riemsdyk a decade earlier that Patrick may be looking to escape that negative spotlight for a team who would appreciate his arrival.
Of course, the Flyers have only ever stated that they continue to support Patrick and can still see his immense future potential. Seravalli believes that the team would like to see how Patrick fares next season with a fully healthy off-season and a fresh start at training camp. However, if contract negotiations go south or Patrick asks for a trade, the Flyers may have no choice but to move on. The NHL Expansion Draft could also play a role, as Patrick needs to be protected from the Seattle Kraken, but in Philadelphia’s deep forward corps that involves exposing another valuable player. If Patrick isn’t part of their future, the Flyers could go in another direction at the draft. There is still a lot to be determined this summer about the next steps for Patrick and his team, a storyline that could be intriguing in a unique and fast-paced off-season.