The Flyers’ Patience with Nolan Patrick
There’s a good reason I put Chuck Fletcher in the penthouse on week 3 of TLL Radio, for his signing of Nolan Patrick to a 1-year qualifying offer of $874,125.
The 2nd overall pick in the 2017 NHL draft ( behind Nico Hischier of the NJ Devils) had 13 goals and 17 assists for a total of 30 points in 73 games during the 2017-2018 season. In the 2018-2019 season, Patrick put up one additional point (18 total assists on the year) in 72 games. Both Flyers Fans and staff alike were excited to see what Patrick would do in 2019-2020. Unfortunately for the young forward, his migraine disorder prevented him from taking the ice with Philly for the entire pre, regular, and postseason. While many believe that the migraines are a result of the concussion Patrick suffered at the end of the 2018-19 season, he has a history of migraines going back to his youth, and his doctors see no definite correlation between the migraines and his head trauma.
The Flyers and Head Injuries
Many people have jumped to the decision that Patrick is a bust, but the Flyers and Chuck Fletcher haven’t given up on the 22-year-old. In my opinion, this is a welcome sight because the Flyers haven’t exactly had the best record with star players and head trauma:
Eric Lindros’ career was riddled with improperly healed head injuries (6 concussions) and a lack of communication with the Flyers organization at the time caused a rift between the two. The animosity and injuries lead to both the end of his career as a Flyer and as a professional hockey player in general.
Keith Primeau suffered from 3 recorded concussions during his time with the flyers (he believes his total number for his career is closer to 10). Primeau suffered from post-concussion symptoms that were often ignored. This caused the trauma to become worse and worse with each head injury until he had to retire from professional hockey in 2006.
Chris Pronger has shown just how serious the repercussions of playing with a concussion can be. After being hit on October 24th, 2011, and being allowed to continue playing, he suffered another hit on November 11th, 2011. Without being able to fully heal from his first hit, the second hit was detrimental to Pronger and his career.
Clearly, the Flyers have learned from these incidents and with the help of improving medical precautions regarding head injuries, Nolan Patrick has the opportunity to make a full recovery and come back strong.
Patrick’s Qualifying Offer
Some were surprised that Patrick accepted the 1 year, $874,125 offer, I was not. Patrick didn’t have a lot of options, and it’s hard to ask for more from a team you haven’t played for in over a year. Fletcher has been incredibly patient with Patrick throughout his recovery process and this signing is just another well-executed decision by the Flyers General Manager.
Return to Play
Patrick has been slowly getting back into the swing of things, participating in his first scrimmage in his hometown of Brandon, Manitoba on October 1st.
Patrick is also expected to play in another scrimmage today at 2:30 pm EST.
Fletcher is expecting to have Patrick back on the ice with the Flyers in the upcoming season, saying in an interview, “I’m counting on him playing at some point in 2021”. Fletcher also sees the delayed start to the season as a blessing in disguise for getting Nolan Patrick ready to play NHL hockey again. If all goes well Patrick will be back to fill that 3rd line center spot for the Flyers, giving them even more of the offensive depth required to be a top team in the league.
Mandatory Credit: Ruth Bonneville