Patience is a Virtue as Nolan Patrick Returns to Flyers Practice

Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

This should be a nice pick-me-up for the Flyers as they look to build upon consecutive wins over Colorado and Detroit on Saturday and Monday, respectively.

Nolan Patrick, the second overall pick in the 2017 NHL Draft, joined his Flyers teammates on the ice at practice on Wednesday, immediately igniting the hopes of the Orange & Black Twitterverse:

Dave also noted that Nolan Patrick was in the same white jersey as Nic Aube-Kubel, Michael Raffl, and Connor Bunnaman, indicating a likelihood that Patrick’s been cleared for contact. While that doesn’t mean he’s anywhere near game-ready, it’s a nice development for a player who could’ve opted to shut it down for the remainder of the season. Moments like this one had people over the moon:

But, it’s important to keep perspective:

This is a point that cannot be overstated. Some have already jumped to the conclusion that Patrick will be back shortly and head coach Alain Vigneault will slot him into the 3C, allowing for captain Claude Giroux to slide back out to the wing.

In the interest of transparency, here are some thoughts I posited just under a month ago when it was announced that GM Chuck Fletcher would update the media on Nolan Patrick’s status:

Flyers GM Chuck Fletcher will meet with the media Tuesday morning and is expected to give an update on Nolan Patrick. In talking to a few people around the team, I don’t expect it to be a positive update, though no one was 100% sure. If you recall, prior to the season getting underway, I mentioned that there was a chance that Nolan Patrick’s migraine disorder could prevent him from taking the ice in a meaningful capacity this season. While he’s been working with skills coach Angelo Ricci, there hasn’t been much in the way of a meaningful update on Patrick returning to full-team practice or contact drills. I do wonder if he’s looking at the time that he’s missed, the time it would take to get up to NHL conditioning, all while hoping to avoid a relapse or setback, and wonders whether it’s even worth trying to get back for the end of the season. There have been rumblings over the past year or so from within the organization about Patrick’s desire or lack thereof to be great.

Let’s break that down a bit. I care more about Nolan Patrick the human being getting his health back and finding some sort of preventative treatment for his migraine disorder than worrying about when Nolan Patrick the hockey player returns to the ice. Migraines run in my family. They’re absolutely devastating and when they hit can be entirely unpredictable.

All of that said, it’s important to note that his return to practice isn’t the same thing as him being featured game in and game out in AV’s lineup. Major credit goes to Nolan Patrick for keeping his routine conditioning up when he could’ve just as easily walked away from the ice for the remainder of the season. High marks also go to Angelo Ricci for working with Patrick throughout his absence. That said, there is a distinct difference between practice shape and game shape.

The working thought here is that it will likely take at least a few weeks to get Nolan Patrick back into game shape, including avoiding any major relapses or setbacks with migraines. One would also have to assume there will be a rehab stint of at least a couple of weeks with the Lehigh Valley Phantoms before he returns to game action.

The questions about Patrick’s internal motor appear to have been answered, at least in part. Now we need to see if his body is able to meet the demands of playing again consistently at the NHL level. If he were to have a setback, would he work even harder to get back for the stretch run and a potential playoff run? Among the many words of caution I’d give to fans is to temper expectations if and when Patrick returns to the lineup. This is a guy who’s averaged 30.5 points in 72.5 games per season. This was supposed to be the season he’d take that next major step in his development like Travis Konecny and Oskar Lindblom did, prior to the latter’s cancer diagnosis. He’s unlikely to be a consistent difference-maker for the team, but his netfront presence would be an enormous boon for the Flyers’ struggling power play.

Regardless of what the future holds for him this season, it’s nice to see him back on the ice.

For more Flyers coverage, check out Snow The Goalie Mondays from 5-6PM on 610 ESPN Philadelphia and subscribe to Snow The Goalie: A Flyers Podcast, available on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, GooglePlay, Stitcher, iHeartRadio, and wherever else you get your podcasts. Follow Snow The Goalie on Facebook and Twitter. Also be sure to tune into The Press Row Show as Anthony SanFilippo and Russ Joy preview every Flyers home game pregame and recap the first and second period action during intermission breaks  from press row of the Wells Fargo Center via the Crossing Broad Facebook page, YouTube Live, and Twitter, and their Twitter accounts (@AntSanPhilly @JoyOnBroad). 

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9 Comments

  • bob February 5, 2020 at 1:27 pm

    I never understand why we as fans have to be understated or temper enthusiasm …we are fans and that’s what we do. LOL

    Reply
  • Big Lenny February 5, 2020 at 1:46 pm

    Never heard of her. Spend 10,000 dollars and get him some bolt on cans and then we can talk. Make him a White Ten 10

    Reply
  • Russ is 5' 2 February 5, 2020 at 2:20 pm

    When he wears heels

    Reply
    • Mini mike Bloomberg February 5, 2020 at 2:37 pm

      Still taller than me

      Reply
      • Don t February 5, 2020 at 4:35 pm

        I do have great nicknames. Think of it. My nicknames are great.
        Think of it – the National Anthem should be respected.

        Did you see me being funny? Think of it – I am a star. I can act like an idiot during the anthem – you can’t.

        I have nicknames.

        Reply
  • Ed Van Impe played with cancer, vertigo, migraines, AIDS and irritable bowel syndrome his whole career February 5, 2020 at 3:12 pm

    Patrick’s a pussy. Not a Broad Street bully

    Reply
    • Bill Balls February 5, 2020 at 3:33 pm

      Agreed. No bully, just a broad

      Reply
  • Wegmans > ACME February 5, 2020 at 3:48 pm

    Even if and when he comes back, what is there to be excited about? 13 goals a season average….if he comes back in 2020 that would amount to about 5 goals given the amount of games they have left. The dude is a flat out bust, migraines or no migraines.

    Reply
  • house February 5, 2020 at 4:15 pm

    flyers never hit on their draft picks

    Reply
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