Philadelphia Flyers: Why History Won’t Repeat With the 2nd Overall Pick

Mar 21, 2017; Winnipeg, Manitoba, CAN; Winnipeg Jets defenseman Dustin Byfuglien (33) battles Philadelphia Flyers right wing Wayne Simmonds (17) during the first period at MTS Centre. Mandatory Credit: Bruce Fedyck-USA TODAY Sports
Mar 21, 2017; Winnipeg, Manitoba, CAN; Winnipeg Jets defenseman Dustin Byfuglien (33) battles Philadelphia Flyers right wing Wayne Simmonds (17) during the first period at MTS Centre. Mandatory Credit: Bruce Fedyck-USA TODAY Sports /

The inargural year of the NHL Lottery was 1995 with the rule that you could only move up or move down a maximum of four spots. In 2013, the Chicago Blackhawks jumped  the Philadelphia Flyers  for the 1st overall pick taking perrenial all-star Patrick Kane, while the Philadelphia Flyers selected James van Riemsdyk.

Unlike the past couple previous drafts, the idea that there is a consensus number one pick is not there for this year. Most people will say that the Brandon Wheat Kings captain Nolan Patrick will go first to the Devils, but others have said that Halifax Mooseheads’ center Nico Hischier will be selected with the top pick. If New Jersey goes to bolster their depleted blue line, they could take the highly sought after defenseman Miro Heiskanen.

This leaves the Philadelphia Flyers with the ability to take one of Patrick, Hischier, or Cody Glass from Portland of the Western Hockey League. The puck is in General Manager Ron Hextall‘s rink. This is a make or break year for the Hall of Fame goalie who the fans are quickly growing impatient with.

Without further ado, let me introduce you to Nolan Patrick

Hight/Weight: 6’3″/200 lbs.

Position: C/RW

Team: Brandon Wheat Kings (WHL)

  • Passing 5/5
  • Shooting 5/5
  • Skating 5/5
  • Defense 5/5
  • Poise 5/5

Where to begin? This kid can skate, shoot, score, and allows the game to come to him. His hand-eye is amazing for just being only 18 years old. No matter where this kid stands on the ice, the goalie is not safe. From the goalie’s right-hand side along the blue line or at the top of the key the kid is lethal. He puts so much force behind his shot with a great release that the goalie barely has the ability to see it.

His passing is on par with the best of them. His ability to sling the puck across the ice on the powerplay, his give and go in two-on-one situations, and his knowledge of when to use a saucer pass often draws him links to the savvy distributor of the Washington Capitals center Nicklas Backstrom. This just so happens to be one of his favorite players to watch as he has studied his game long and hard for many years.

To have the ability to skate is one thing, but to be built like a power forward and skate like a dangler is often never heard of. He may not beat you by sheer speed like Connor McDavid, but he plays a complete 200-foot game. His ability to move is to unlike any other of his size. He posses the wheels it takes to make it at the next level to keep up with the competition.

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What troubles me is his defense. Although he doesn’t have glaring holes in his defense, sometimes Patrick gets caught forechecking. His length allows him to afford to be a step behind and still lift the stick of the opposition. He plays very well with his stick and has a knack for being able to knock his opponent out of possession of the puck.

What is causing the talented Canadian to fall leading up to the draft is that he has recently had a stretch of injuries. These injuries have limited him to just 33 games this past season. He was also injured during the Wheat Kings very short playoff run. When Nolan Patrick suited up for a full 72 game season he was able to put up 41 G and 61 A for a total of 102 points. His injury plagued 2016-2017 campaign saw him put up 20 G and 26 A for 46 points.

The “other option” that the Philadelphia Flyers could select at number two is Nico Hischier.

Height/Weight: 6’0″/ 172 lbs.

Position: C/RW

Team: Halifax Mooseheads (QMJHL)

  • Passing 5/5
  • Shooting 5/5
  • Skating 5/5
  • Defense  4/5
  • Poise 5/5

Between the top two picks, Nico is the better offensive threat than Nolan Patrick in my book. Not to discredit Patrick, but Nico is the pure goal scorer in this draft behind Eeli Tolvanen. He has one of the cleanest releases in this draft. His ability to pick his corner and locate the puck in a mess of people are out of this world. His passing ability is above average also. He can create lanes for his teammates that most others cannot.

He may posses the best skating ability in this class of forwards by a landslide. He isn’t as fast as some of the younger skaters of recent, but he can still blow past you. He makes it look so effortless to glide and does it in such a way that it almost looks majestic. His composure on the ice is outstanding. For someone who is still a teenager, he plays like a vet leading a team.

The one area where he is inferior to Nolan Patrick is his defense. Yes, he can play defense and he makes the smart play in his own zone, but at times he is slow to react. There are some moments where he loses sight of his man also which will get him in trouble going against the stars of the metropolitan division. he will be going up against the likes of Sidney Crosby, John Tavares, and many others.

Next: Philadelphia Flyers Player to Watch: Oskar Lindblom

This draft is lacking the depth and star talent that previous drafts have had. Most of us remember the Crosby draft, the McDavid-Eichle saga, and also the Ovechkin-Malkin conundrum. This may not have many “stars” in the draft that are NHL ready, but the kids that are coming out look very reassuring. We’ll see in three years if history repeats itself for the Philadelphia Flyers.