There might not be a generational talent waiting to be selected at the 2017 NHL Draft. Although, Nolan Patrick is pretty damn close. Trying to follow in the footsteps of Connor McDavid and Auston Matthews, Patrick wants to establish himself early at the NHL level. If all goes right, he should be a lock for 2018 Calder consideration.
It’s impossible to come into the league with more fanfare than that of McDavid and Matthews. However, Patrick isn’t some average player. He’s ranked as the number 1 skater in the 2017 NHL Draft for a reason. And whoever gets him will be reaping the benefits for years to come.
At the WHL level, players are expected to amass big point totals. If they are good enough, NHL teams will find them. Patrick has been one of the best prospects for the last three years. His impressive numbers from 2015-16 show that, as he recorded 102 points in 72 games.
The 2016-17 season hasn’t been so kind to Patrick. He’s not played a full season with his WHL team, Brandon Wheat Kings, due to an upper body injury. In addition, Patrick missed the 2017 World Junior Championships.
This injury hasn’t stopped scouts from admiring and praising Patrick. Wheat Kings G.M., Grant Armstrong, thinks very highly of Patrick, as he stated to the Edmonton Sun in an article written by Jason Hills.
“The biggest thing about Nolan is that he’s a pro already. He acts like a pro. He’s passionate about winning, passionate about being a good teammate and he works incredibly hard every day. He’s the type of player you build your organization around and he’ll be that player at the next level.”
Teams such as Colorado, Las Vegas, Arizona, and Detroit, have the best shots at getting Patrick. He’d fit in well on any of these teams. It’s expected that Patrick goes directly to the NHL upon his Draft year, but which team fits Patrick the best?
Obviously, Las Vegas would make the most sense, as they can build him to be he franchise player. Detroit has a winning pedigree, and will no doubt mold him into an All-Star. Colorado and Arizona both have some great young talent, and Patrick could be the glue that holds them all together.
With the NHL Draft fast approaching, the hype around Nolan Patrick will only grow. Now fully healthy, he’s well on his way to becoming the top pick in the 2017 Entry Draft. He might not be a generational talent like McDavid, but he’s definitely worthy of the top selection.
Follow Daniel James Gentile on twitter @dgentleman9288