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2017-18 Player Review: Nolan Patrick’s tale of two seasons ended with promise

It was a tale of two seasons for the 2nd overall pick.

Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

Nolan Patrick came into his rookie season injured and struggled for essentially all of 2017, but once the new year came around, the 19 year old arrived. Let’s dive into Nolan Patrick’s first NHL season.

By The Numbers

Basic Stats

Games Played Goals Assists Points PIM Shots on Goal Shooting Percentage
Games Played Goals Assists Points PIM Shots on Goal Shooting Percentage
73 13 17 30 30 127 10.2

Overall, Nolan Patrick put together a solid rookie season. He ended with 0.41 PPG, which is pretty impressive considering that in his first 29 NHL games, he was on a 0.24 pace. In his final 44 games, Patrick saw his points pace skyrocket to a 0.52, more than doubling his mark in the first 29. So, what changed? Well, getting healthy was a huge step. Patrick underwent similar surgery that teammates Claude Giroux and Shayne Gostisbehere dealt with, and we’re well aware of how that affected their game. Patrick was simply a different player in the second half of the year and you could tell that just from the eye test alone. There was an extra gear to his game that he began putting on display more and more.

Not only were his raw point totals poor to begin the year, his metrics were as well. Patrick was one of the worst play-drivers on the team for much of the early portions of the year, but as the calendar year turned, Patrick was consistently breaking even or better in regards to CF%. In his first 29 games, Patrick posted a horrific 41.59 CF%, but he ended the year almost breaking even at 49.02%. His turnaround was something to behold, and bodes well for the next season and the chances for him to be not only a high point producer, but a play-driver as well.

5v5 individual stats

Points/60 Primary Points/60 Shot Attempts/60 Expected Goals/60
Points/60 Primary Points/60 Shot Attempts/60 Expected Goals/60
1.5 1.07 7.23 0.71

Patrick’s 5-on-5 production was another positive, having ranked among the Flyers best in each of the stats listed above. He’s a player who, at times, was able to take over the game at 5-on-5 and that is what we were hoping for when drafting him second overall. Although it’s not necessarily the most important part of a players’ game, Patrick’s willingness to shoot the puck was something extremely prevalent as the new year came around. With just 29 shots in as many games, confidence was clearly a big issue for the rookie. However, in his last 44 games, Patrick put the puck on net 98 times, a drastic increase. He was finally healthy, and ready to contribute.

5v5 on-ice stats

Score-Adjusted Corsi For % SA-Corsi Relative Corsi For % RelTM Score Adjusted-Expected Goals For SA-Expected Goals Relative Goals For % PDO
Score-Adjusted Corsi For % SA-Corsi Relative Corsi For % RelTM Score Adjusted-Expected Goals For SA-Expected Goals Relative Goals For % PDO
49.48 -0.3 0.42 52.62 2.8 55.36 101.39

Although Patrick’s possession struggles were clear this season, he still posted a positive in CF% relTM and adjusted xG relative. Considering where he was coming from in the first half of the season, that’s a pretty remarkable feat for the 19 year old.

Three Burning Questions

1. Did this player live up to our expectations for this season?

When looking at the totality of Patrick’s season, I think one could argue he did not live up to expectations. With that said, the primary reason behind that is his first 29 games where he was legitimately dragging the team down at times. Once he got healthy, Patrick was absolutely living up to expectations. Most of us probably expected him to be around 40 points, so his mark of 30 had to be a tad bit of a disappointment.

2. What do we expect from this player next season?

Considering Patrick will (hopefully) be centering a line with newly acquired James van Riemsdyk and Jakub Voracek, I think a 40-50 point season is more than fair to expect out of Patrick. He has a pure goal scorer to the left of him and one of the best puck protection players in the entire league to his right. There’s not much more he can ask for at this point in terms of linemates.

I think I’d also hope Patrick to be a consistent top play-driving forward next season. He should see his fair amount of offensive zone starts which would help that tremendously, and after his great run at the end of last season, I think he has elite play-driving skill with his above average puck protection ability. There is a great possibility that we could see a breakout season for Patrick this season, as we somewhat saw with Travis Konecny this past season.

3. What would we like to see this player improve on?

Patrick even suggested this himself in his exit interview, but his shot is something that I think he definitely should improve on. With Voracek on his wing, he’s going to get a plethora of opportunities to shoot the puck. Voracek is one of the best playmaking forwards in the league, the perfect linemate for a center like Patrick. I can already envision Voracek protecting the puck along the boards as he does so well, then centering to an open Patrick for a one-timer.

While this became less and less of an issue for the rookie as his season progressed, Patrick’s ability to create offense for himself was certainly a detractor in the early going. His explosiveness was a huge part in many of his goals as the season progressed, such as these two against the Boston Bruins and Washington Capitals.

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