Flyers Land Nolan Patrick Second Overall in NHL Draft
CHICAGO — The connections were there from the moment the Flyers lucked into moving up 11 spots in the NHL draft lottery.
Nolan Patrick, the star center of the Brandon Wheat Kings, was getting all kinds of attention from everyone and was the presumed No. 1 pick for almost a year.
Even though the Flyers were preparing for a middle-of-the-pack pick, GM Ron Hextall was keeping close tabs. Hextall also played for the Wheat Kings in junior, his hometown team.
Add in that Patrick was calling Brayden Schenn — another former Wheat King — and his old teammate, Ivan Provorov recently and his connection to the Flyers was undeniable.
Friday night the Flyers made it official, selecting Patrick with the second-overall pick after the New Jersey Devils took Nico Hischier first.
“Me and Nico are completely different players,” Patrick said. “I think he might be a little more offensively dynamic than me and I think I might be a little more defensively than him. I think we’re just completely different players. They wanted him and it’s not like I’m sitting here mad wishing I went to Jersey. They didn’t want me so it doesn’t matter too much to me.”
Patrick was four days shy of being eligible for last year’s draft, so the Flyers were doubly lucky. The 6-foot-2, 199-pound center had an injury-plagued season thanks to a misdiagnosis of a sports hernia. Doctors thought he had one, but he really had two.
Hextall brought Patrick in before the draft and had the team doctors check him out. Obviously the Flyers have no worries about his medical history. The Devils didn’t mind it either, but opted for Hischier.