I don’t know if it’s a bad case of Monday morning allergies or if I’m actually still hungover from partying following the Flyers’ 11-spot jump in the 2017 NHL Draft Lottery, but all of the world’s Claritin/Pedialyte couldn’t make me feel as good as those ping balls did on Saturday evening.
We’re going to have two months to really dissect what the Flyers should do with the No. 2 overall pick in the 2017 NHL Draft, to be held June 23 and 24 in Chicago. But there are really only three possible answers, as we currently see it.
And of those three answers, one of them will be decided for us by Ray Shero and the New Jersey Devils when they make the No. 1 overall selection.
Pick Nolan Patrick
Nolan Patrick, the 6’3, 198 pound center and former teammate of Flyers’ defenseman Ivan Provorov, has been the expected No. 1 pick for at least a year now. He finished atop NHL Central Scouting’s rankings both midterm and in last month’s final tally. He scored 102 points — 41 goals and 62 assists -- in his second-full WHL season a year ago, and was named the postseason MVP.
But injury woes this season limited him to just 33 games — in which he scored 46 points -- and the spotlight has been held up to him long enough that he’s starting to show spots. Some scouts have turned the page on his spot atop the rankings.
The injury issues don’t seem long-term from what people are saying, but it is at least a touch concerning that Patrick has been injured every season dating back to 2012. A year ago, he had sports hernia surgery that’s very similar to the surgery Shayne Gostisbehere and Claude Giroux had a year ago, and we all know how that appeared to effect them this past season.
In any event, Patrick is a dynamic player with a booming shot and that ever-so-fun combination of both speed and size. He’ll be a fantastic addition to the Flyers prospect pool, or maybe even their 2017-18 roster, should he fall to them. HOWEVER, this might be the most revealing and troubling thing about Patrick. It’s nearly inexcusable:
Rare time I've been speechless in an interview:— Kristina Rutherford (@KrRutherford) March 21, 2017
Nolan Patrick: "I don't like pizza or chocolate."
Then 30 seconds of silence.
I’d rather take a kid who smokes pot than a guy with these types of character issues. I mean, at least stoners like pizza and chocolate.
Pick Nico Hischier
We don’t know his thoughts on pizza, but Nico Hischier — known to Philadelphia sports radio callers as “Nick His-cheer”, it’s actually pronounced heesh-er — is Swiss, so he probably likes chocolate.
Patrick’s limited play this season gave ample opportunity for Hischier to jump up in the rankings, and some are already saying that he deserves the top spot instead. He was the No. 2-ranked prospect in both the midterm and final rankings from Central Scouting, and he’s had a great first year in North America with the QMJHL’s Halifax Mooseheads. The QMJHL is a pretty offense-heavy league and all, but 28 goals and 48 assists in 57 games is good no matter the league.
It was really the World Juniors that pushed the Hischier hype into overdrive, though. As an 18 year old, Hischier scored seven goals and added eight assists for Switzerland in 11 games, and he single-handedly almost carried his team past the United States with a two-goal performance in a 3-2 quarterfinal-round loss.
Both players are centers, with Hischier coming in a bit smaller at 6’0, 179 pounds. The injury issues might sink Patrick’s chances of a No. 1 pick, while Hischier might ultimately fall simply because there’s just one North American season on his resume.
Hischier definitely wins in the flashiness department as compared to Patrick. The New Jersey Devils are probably the dullest, least-flashy thing to ever be created by human beings, so maybe that’ll be enough to for Hischier to fall to No. 2.
Trade the pick
The third option would be to move this pick, of course. Personally I think talk of this is a little silly given that there just isn’t that much of a drop between the two guys at the top of the draft, and the Flyers definitely have the need for a young, game-breaking center over the long-term. Hischier and Patrick both fit the bill.
Ultimately, the Flyers are going to get a very talented young player here with the No. 1 or No. 2 overall pick. Patrick is probably more NHL-ready given his size and that he’s played more time on North American ice, but Hischier could certainly make an NHL club as early as next season too.
If you think that they aren’t ready, or if you are enamored with one player but not the other, maybe you feel you can accelerate the process by moving back in the first round and acquiring an NHL player with this pick. I don’t see it happening, and I think the Flyers should stick at the No. 2 spot. But you never know what kind of offer might be on the other side of the phone.
What do you want Philadelphia to do?
What do you hope the Flyers do with the No. 2 pick?
This poll is closed
Select Nolan Patrick
Select Nico Hischier
Select somebody else
Trade the pick