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Nolan Patrick: The Man at the Top

2017 top prospect preview beginning at the top

Brandon Wheat Kings v Kelowna Rockets Photo by Marissa Baecker/Getty Images

If you read the overview piece, you already know that everyone in and around the NHL feel that Brandon Wheat King Center Nolan Patrick is the player at the top of all of the draft boards! If you missed that piece, you can catch up here.

Nolan Patrick

DOB: 9/19/1998

Height: 6’3”

Weight: 198 lbs.

Pos: Center

Shoots: Right

Current Team: Brandon (WHL)

Central Scouting Grade: A

Accolades: WHL Rookie of the Year (2015); Ivan Hnlinka Challenge Gold Medal (2015); WHL League Championship (2016); WHL Playoff MVP (2016); Team Captain (2016-17)

As you can see, Patrick has a pretty well rounded offensive game. He can generate offense with his playmaking or making his own path to the back of the net. If you need some evidence of this from this season, take a look at these efforts from early October!

Family Ties

Nolan has NHL lineage as his father Steve played 6 years in the NHL, and his uncle James is a former player (20 seasons) turned coach. It’s been a common occurrence to see sons of former players making the NHL over the past 4 or 5 drafts. The second generation Wheat King has kept his ducks in a row for a while now, and TSN featured him in a Crosby-esque video with the 15 year old midget ‘AAA’ version of himself.

In addition to a rich NHL family history, his Grandfather Stephen Patrick was a 12 year CFL player who was a West division all-star for the Winnipeg Blue Bombers in 1958 and 1959. Talk about a storied athletic background!

What Scouts Say

Craig Button (TSN): all the capabilities to be the No. 1 centre teams can build around. Has an ease to his play, both physically and mentally, that he combines with excellent skill to impact the game in every situation

Bob McKenzie (TSN): does not have the elite skating that McDavid, Eichel and Matthews showed but has all the makings of an elite 2nd Line Center.

Jeff Marek (SportsNet): Has a unique combination of size and skill, he can play in all situations.

Steve Patrick (Father): He always saw the ice well and even when he was little he could pass the puck. He was a smaller kid and he sometimes played up a year, so I thought he had to be little sneakier to hold on to the puck.

2016-17 Performance

Coming off of an amazing season with 102 points and leading the playoffs in scoring, the expectations were incredibly high for the Winnipeg native heading into his draft year. The Wheat King Captain started the 2016-17 season on a great pace, putting up 4 goals and 5 assists in his first 6 games. Unfortunately, after the 9th game Patrick was put on the injured list with an ‘Upper Body Injury’. Normally this is not a cause for alarm but as Patrick underwent a sports hernia surgery in the offseason, there is a bit of concern about the tight lipped approach that the organization has taken to this injury. Patrick was selected to participate in the WHL vs. Russia Super Series, but was deemed unfit to participate.

If his ailment is not an issue, expect to see Nolan Patrick don the Red and White for Canada at the U20 World Junior Tournament in Montreal and Toronto over the Christmas break.

Pro Outlook

The projected first overall pick is always expected to be the next Gretzky, Orr, Roy, or what have you. This often sets up the ‘best prospect in the draft’ to be seen as a disappointment when they aren’t able to live up to these lofty and in most situations unrealistic expectations. A fair comparison for Nolan Patrick would be Anaheim Ducks Captain Ryan Getzlaf. Not quite a top 5 player in the league, but definitely one of the more elite at his position.