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A Chance for Nolan Patrick to Succeed with the Vegas Golden Knights

Former Philadelphia Flyer, Nolan Patrick is one of the newest additions to the Vegas Golden Knights Roster. He now has a chance to succeed in Vegas after struggling to make an impact in Philadelphia. He was involved with a three-way trade between Vegas, Philadelphia, and Nashville. A trade that saw the departure of the first player ever drafted by the Vegas Golden Knights, Cody Glass.

With the center position being a weak point for the Golden Knights, the hope is that Patrick can return to form and fill the team’s center position woes.

A quality player with high potential

Over four seasons in the WHL with the Brandon Wheat Kings, Patrick recorded 205 points in 163 games. In the two seasons prior to the 2017 draft, he tallied an impressive 148 points.

Though he faced injury struggles in his 16-17 campaign he was still able to record 46 points in 33 games. A strong showing for the season that saw him struggle with injury.

When the draft finally came, there was a lot of speculation as to who was going to go first overall. Nico Hischier ended up edging out Patrick after a strong season in the QMJHL and on the Swiss World Juniors team. While Patrick, also had a quality season in the WHL, his injury appeared to be enough to prevent the New Jersey Devils from selecting him at first overall.

A lackluster start

Immediately after the Flyers drafted him, team management put him in the lineup for the 17-18 season.  He played 73 games and recorded 30 points. While not a bad stat-line for a rookie, it was seen as somewhat of an underwhelming showing for such a highly touted player.

In his 18-19 season he did not appear to show much improvement, only scoring 31 points in 72 games.  Fans really started to criticize him and his below-average performance so far at this point.

It was during the 2019 offseason that Patrick was diagnosed with a migraine disorder. As a result of these ongoing migraine problems, Patrick did not play for the entirety of the 19-20 season.

When the NHL returned to play for the 20-21 season, Patrick had the worst year of his NHL career. He was only able to record nine points in 52 games and had a plus/minus stat of -30. Which tied him for second place with the worst plus/minus stat in the NHL during the 2020-2021 season. Very much a campaign Patrick would want to forget.

A needed change in scenery

During his time in the WHL, Nolan Patrick made a name for himself as a highly proficient offensive player.  He showed both strong play-making capabilities and goal-scoring prowess. As represented by his stat-lines from each season with the Wheat Kings.

While in Philadelphia, Patrick appeared to be hamstrung by his confidence and his ability to remain consistent. There also seemed to be a disconnect between team management and Patrick himself.

Patrick didn’t play a single game during the 19-20 campaign as a result of his migraine disorder diagnosis.  Management benched him, hoping that when he returned, he would do so in top form. When the COVID-19 pandemic hit, it gave him even more time to deal with his struggles.

When NHL play returned, it became clear that Patrick’s future with the Flyers was questionable at best.  Especially with his poor season and expressed interest in a move.

The trade to Vegas seemed to be the best move possible for Patrick. A new team and play style that could potentially accommodate his skill set. He also has a relationship with Golden Knights GM and former owner of the Brandon Wheat Kings, Kelly McCrimmon.

During an interview, McCrimmon is quoted as saying; “Nolan is a player that I personally know really well. We’ve stayed current on him with our pro scouting staff.”

The Golden Knights have a plan for Patrick and appear to have wanted him for some time. And with his recent poor performance, the Golden Knights to trade for him and took it.

What’s to come?

Nolan Patrick has absolutely struggled at the NHL level and never appeared to be entirely comfortable playing in Philadelphia. The hope is that through careful cultivation of his strengths, the Golden Knights will be able to utilize Patrick to the best of his abilities. The relationship between himself and McCrimmon should help prevent communication breakdowns between player and team.

With McCrimmon having seen what made Patrick so effective in the WHL, he’ll hopefully be able to help Patrick get back to that level. If he can get out of Patrick what he was able to produce in Brandon, then Vegas’ vacant top center position might not be vacant for much longer.

It’s up for Patrick to perform at this point, Vegas seems built for a player such as himself, but whether he succeeds or not, depends on him.

Featured image courtesy of the NHL

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