Current Team: Brandon Wheat Kings, WHL
Date of Birth: September 19, 1998
Place of Birth: Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada
Weight: 198 lbs
Unlike past seasons, this draft lacks a generational-type talent like Connor McDavid or Auston Matthews. It doesn’t even have a Jack Eichel or Patrick Laine. That is, no one worth specifically tanking for. That being said, in any draft there will still be players at the top who will become key players for whichever team is lucky enough to draft them.
Nolan Patrick certainly fits the mold of a top prospect. He is ranked as the #1 skater by NHL Central Scouting. With his size, he has the measurables to be an imposing 1C in the NHL. In 2015-16, he led the Wheat Kings (former junior club of Matt Calvert, among others) to the WHL title. In 2016-17, however, he was limited by injuries, which has put his status as the #1 pick in doubt.
The bad news for Columbus fans is that Patrick is a lock to be selected with one of the first two picks. Both are held by Metro Division opponents, with the New Jersey Devils winning the draft lottery and the Philadelphia Flyers winning the second pick. We should get to see Patrick playing the Jackets 4 times a year for the the foreseeable future.
33 GP/20 G/26 A/46 P/36 PIM/+ 9
A lethal combo of size, speed and skill; plays a power game and possesses one of the most well-rounded skill sets in the CHL - Future Considerations
Patrick, the big Brandon Wheat Kings center, certainly came in with an excellent pedigree. An all-around talent whose father (Steve) and uncle (James) both played in the NHL, Patrick tied for the lead in WHL playoff scoring last season, helping the Wheat Kings to the playoff title and a Memorial Cup berth. As a late September birthday, he missed the 2016 draft cutoff by four days. I ranked Patrick as the top prospect for 2017 in last year’s edition of Future Watch and last year’s edition of Draft Preview.
But since then, Patrick missed Canada’s summer world junior camp due to sports hernia surgery; then missed this year’s world juniors, a big chunk of the regular season and all four of Brandon’s playoff games as the Wheaties were swept by Medicine Hat. Again, due to injuries.
But here’s the challenging thing about Patrick: his points production during the regular season actually dropped a bit year over year, from 1.42 to 1.39. I know that’s tiny, but it’s also peculiar. Was it because of the injuries? Was it because Brandon no longer had Jayce Hawrlyuk (FLA), Ivan Provorov (PHI), John Quenneville (NJ) and Tim McGauley (WSH) in the lineup? These are the questions that scouts and execs are now pondering. - The Hockey News