Last night was rough for the Philadelphia Flyers even beyond losing 6-2 to the Anaheim Ducks, as Nolan Patrick left the ice clearly shaken up by a Chris Wagner hit.
To some surprise, Patrick practiced this morning, and Sam Carchidi of the Philadelphia Inquirer reports that the second pick of the 2017 NHL Draft is available to play against the Senators in Ottawa on Thursday.
Again, considering how Patrick reacted, this is quite the promising development. Here’s the hit in GIF form, too:
Since we’re here, let’s ponder how the 19-year-old is faring so far.
Burning that first year?
Interestingly, this hiccup happens after Patrick appeared in his ninth regular-season game for the Flyers. As a prominent prospect once expected to be the first pick before Nico Hischier‘s climb and an injury-ravaged season bumped him down a spot, it probably won’t shock many to see him stay.
Still, one could understand if the Flyers wanted to take a moment or two to ponder such a scenario.
Patrick really isn’t getting a ton of reps, at least not yet. He’s only averaging 12:29 TOI per game so far, and while an abbreviated contest last night lowers that number a touch, his highest number for a single game was 14:20.
Being that he isn’t the flashiest forward, it’s probably not surprising that he has a modest scoring total of one goal and two assists for three points so far. His underlying numbers are quite underwhelming, though, with poor possession stats and a meager 13 shots on goal.
None of this is anything to be overly concerned about in the grand scheme of things, and the Flyers don’t necessarily lose all that much even if he struggles as a rookie. It’s at least worth mentioning that he’s going through some growing pains, however, so Philly could be excused if they at least ponder some caution.
It becomes almost a no-brainer if there are even mild concerns about his health, but we’ll see.
James O’Brien is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter @cyclelikesedins.