What to do with Nolan Patrick

It’s Nolan Patricks 3rd year in the NHL, and he has yet to participate in contract drills with the Flyers, nearly a month into the new season.  On September 26, it was released that Patrick was suffering from a migraine disorder.  It was made clear that doctors did not believe it was concussion related.

When asked if we should be shocked in Patrick didn’t play at all this season, GM Chuck Fletcher could only say “I can’t speculate on that.”

Not encouraging.

I’m not hating on Patrick.  I was, like everyone else hyped up when we landed the 2nd overall pick and drafted him.  Sure, he wouldn’t be liked Patrick Laine (2016) or Jack Eichel (2015), but Patrick was still believed to be a franchise player after being the number one prospect in his draft year.

New Jersey Devils saw it differently, and went with Nico Hischier instead.  Speaking of Hischier, he just signed a seven-year $50.75 million dollar contract with an AAV of $7.25 million.  Hischier has looked good at times, but not for that amount, but that is the way RFA’s are now signing coming off their ELCs.

Which begs to be asked, what would Patrick want for an extension.  Lets compare the two players.

Hischier in 160 games played has 37 goals, 67 assist for 104 points while Patrick in 145 games played has 26 goals, 35 assist for only 61 points. Patrick having played 15 less games has 43 less points.  Patrick wouldn’t expect, and shouldn’t expect a contract near Hischier’s.  For what we have seen from Patrick so far, 2 years with an AAV at $4 million would be the most I’d go.

It also depends on if Patrick can get healthy.  Yes it’s possible to play in the NHL with migraines.  Other player have done it before.  It’s just about finding the right medication and having it last.  The last thing I want done is to sign Patrick to a 4 year or more contract and having him miss games because of his migraines.  I don’t want to hold it against him since it’s not his fault, but his migraine issue is a big concern of mine.

Aside from the migraines, Patrick has only showed glimpses of being a really good NHL player.  We need more than glimpses.  More times than not, he’s almost invisible out there.  Not what you want from your 2nd overall pick and potential 2nd line center.  Not only that, with Patrick’s lack of development, the Flyers were forced to pick up Kevin Hayes and slot him in at the 2nd line center so Patrick could get 3rd line minutes and hopefully gain his confidence and develop.

We do have other center options in Lehigh Valley right now as well.  Morgan Frost, while off to a slow start has began to pick it up.  At this time he’s probably not NHL ready, but by mid season that could change and there could be a chance you could see him called up depending on injuries and how the team is.  Joel Farabee and German Rubstov have already been called up due to lackluster play and to help fill in for Scott Laughton, who is expected to be out and his on LTIR.

Is there a possibility that the Flyers could cut ties with Patrick altogether?  You’d be selling low at this point given how is career has gone so far.  But it wouldn’t be the first time the Flyers screwed up by trading away a 2nd overall pick.  I mean if we do trade him now, by the time he’s 30 we could always possibly sign him back as a free agent.  Happened before.

However there could be a GM out there who could still see value in trading for him with possibly a NHL ready player, but only after Patrick has played in some games this season.  If he doesn’t play at all, then trading him at the point could be a mistake.

Fletcher has some decisions to make at the end of the year.  Right now we can only hope for Patrick to get his migraines under control, get a conditioning stint down in the AHL, and hopefully back in Philly by December.

I’d be lying if I wasn’t pessimistic about this situation.

By: Mike Bailey (@mbailey010)

Photo Cred: NBCPhilly

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