Wheat Kings’ captain Patrick signs with NHL’s Flyers


Nolan Patrick, the second overall selection from the 2017 NHL Draft, has signed a three-year, entry-level contract with the Philadelphia Flyers.

The Flyers announced the signing Monday morning.

Patrick, 18, was long projected as a top prospect heading into the 2017 NHL Draft, leading NHL Central Scouting’s rankings throughout the 2016-17 campaign. But after the New Jersey Devils nabbed Nico Hischier of the QMJHL’s Halifax Mooseheads with the first overall pick, Patrick was plucked by the Flyers in the second slot.

The 2016-17 season was a battle for the product of Winnipeg. As captain of the Western Hockey League’s Brandon Wheat Kings, Patrick skated in only 33 games but did manage 46 points (20G-26A) along the way as injuries hampered the 6-foot-2, 198-pound centre in the wake of an outstanding 2015-16 season.

The year prior, Patrick posted 102 points (41G-61A) in 72 games before adding another 30 points (13G-17A) in 21 games to lead the Wheat Kings to the 2016 WHL Championship, being named WHL Playoffs MVP for his extraordinary efforts.

As a WHL rookie, Patrick claimed the Jim Piggott Memorial Trophy for WHL Rookie of the Year following a 2014-15 season in which he logged 56 points (30G-26A) in 55 games.

Selected fourth overall by the Wheat Kings at the 2013 WHL Bantam Draft, Patrick now has the opportunity to join a legendary Wheat Kings alumnus at the NHL level. Ron Hextall, general manager of the Flyers and a product of Brandon, spent three seasons with the Wheat Kings (1981-82 through 1983-84) before being selected in the sixth round (119th) at the 1982 NHL Draft.

In addition to Hextall, Patrick joins former Wheat Kings teammate Ivan Provorov in the Flyers fold. The Russia defenceman skated alongside Patrick in Brandon during the 2014-15 and 2015-16 seasons. After being selected seventh overall by the Flyers at the 2015 NHL Draft, Provorov made the full-time jump to the NHL after helping the Wheat Kings claim the 2016 WHL Championship.

According to a Flyers press release, Patrick underwent a successful abdominal surgery on June 13 and is expected to resume full activity four to six weeks from that date. He is expected to being skating in the coming week and it is anticipated he will be 100 per cent healthy in time for the 2017-18 season.

Patrick is the son of former NHL forward Steve Patrick, who was the 20th overall selection of the Buffalo Sabres at the 1980 NHL Draft before going on to play 250 NHL games. Nolan’s uncle, James Patrick, was recently named head coach of the WHL’s Kootenay ICE following 11 seasons as an NHL assistant coach and an NHL playing career that endured nearly 1,400 regular season and playoff contests.

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