Nolan Patrick
Is it too soon to declare Nolan Patrick a bust? The rest of the top five from the 2017 NHL Draft looks promising while Patrick appears to be a deer in the headlights. (Len Redkoles/NHLI via Getty Images)

Is It Time To Declare Nolan Patrick A Bust?

I took Nolan Patrick with my final pick during the draft of my fantasy championship-winning season, but that experiment did not last too long. I quickly cut bait and picked up Joel Farabee, who paid huge dividends. The Philadelphia Flyers’ season is over, but questions surrounding Patrick remain. Do the Flyers still want the former number two overall pick? Does Patrick still have any value, or is it time to declare him a bust?

Philly had a bad season all around, but it was particularly negative for their core young talent. Travis Konecny, previously a ferocious scorer, regressed, and Carter Hart couldn’t stop a nose bleed at this point. Ivan Provorov also continues to look goofy handling the puck at the blue line on the power play.

Despite the troubles that the Flyers’ young talent faced, there is little reason not to remain optimistic about each of them. Konecny will find the back of the net again – he has scored 24 goals each year for three straight years. Hart stunk, but so did every Flyer goalie this season. He should improve with a better defense. Add another top line defensemen next to Provorov and he might learn to move with more fluidity with the puck when it matters.

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Patrick’s future is not nearly as bright, especially when comparing him to the rest of the top five picks from the 2017 NHL Draft. The first pick, Nico Hischier, has not broken out as a star yet but he has shown flashes of excellence, wacky mask and all. Miro Heiskanen, the third overall pick, has struggled to establish his ceiling, but he can skate the hell out of the puck and turn quickly turn defense into offense. Cale Makar, who went fourth overall to the Avalanche, looks like he was birthed from something not from Earth. There is no legitimate need to get into how filthy that guy is. Elias Petterson went fifth overall and he has established himself as a consistent point scorer, tallying 66 points in each of his first two years in the league.

Pretty good top five right there… except for Patrick. Forget about finding his ceiling, can Patrick even play? The young center can potentially still figure it out, but right now, he looks like a deer in headlights. Patrick tallied just four goals and five assists in 52 games this season. Not great, and although plus-minus is not always the most telling statistic, Patrick’s plus-minus of -30 is clearly not ideal. As of right now, his positive impact on the ice is negligible.

Yes, Patrick is still young, but his time in Philadelphia may soon be over. There are already rumblings that the Winnipeg native may want to explore options elsewhere, even though Philadelphia controls his rights come free agency.

The decision to take Patrick ahead of the likes of Heiskanen, Makar, and Petterson could come back to haunt the organization for years to come, especially when Patrick appears well on his way to bust status. The guy who made that decision, Ron Hextall, is no longer part of the organization and is probably smiling from ear to ear controlling the top-seeded Penguins instead.

It might be time to declare Patrick a bust, particularly because the rest of the top picks in his draft class are outperforming him to one degree or another. Out of all of the problems in Philadelphia, the lack of development from Patrick might be their biggest concern. Will Patrick ever turn the corner and look like a respectable player?

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