For Nolan Patrick, missing last season because of a migraine disorder, followed by a shortened training camp in 2021 and a more compacted schedule, made it a challenging year for the Flyers’ center.
Challenging and unproductive.
Patrick, 22, finished with nine points (four goals, five assists) in 52 games, and his minus-30 rating is tied for the second-worst in the NHL.
“It was really hard. I feel like I came in behind the eight-ball, for sure,” he said Tuesday. “I was struggling to find my game and I really didn’t adjust great and get to the top of my game quick.”
In a Zoom call with reporters, Patrick, the No. 2 overall pick in the 2017 draft, was asked if he shied away from contact because of his past migraine condition.
“Maybe a little bit at the start,” he said, “I think when you’re dealing with an injury that long, it’s always on your mind a little. At the start of the year, I was thinking about it quite a bit. It probably affected my play a little bit, but I’m back to 100% health now, so it’s nice.”
This summer will be critical for his development.
“It’ll be the most important offseason of my life,” said Patrick, a pending restricted free agent. “The last couple years have been tough, so I’m looking forward to having a healthy summer of training. ... I think having a full offseason and a full camp, and hopefully back to normal next year will help.”
General manager Chuck Fletcher found a bright spot in Patrick’s year.
“On a positive front, Nolan was able to physically get through this season,” Fletcher said. “After missing the 18, 19, 20 months, whatever it was of not playing, I think it’s a positive that he was able to complete the season. He took some big hits. He played. From that standpoint, that’s something he can build off of.”
An offseason of conditioning and a normal training camp, Fletcher believes, will boost Patrick’s game. This season, “he wasn’t skating the same, particularly in back-to-back games,” Fletcher said. “You could see a drop-off in his skating. I do think there’s some things that could be improved just by being healthy and having a normal summer. Our expectation is that he has a great summer, gets a little stronger, and gets a little more explosive.”
Center Kevin Hayes, whose production dropped this season, confirmed he will have minor surgery, but wouldn’t be specific.
Confidence in Hart
Hayes and many of his teammates said they have no worries about Carter Hart rebounding from a disastrous season.
“Seeing his work ethic, I think he’ll be one of the best goalies in the league next year,” Hayes said.
Morin hopes to stay
Bruising defenseman Samuel Morin, a pending unrestricted free agent, says he is “one of the toughest guys in the league” and hopes to re-sign with the team.
“I feel I’m a Flyer and for sure I want to stay,” he said, adding he wants to supply physicality against some of the big West teams next season.
Travis Konecny will become a dad in late August. “I have a lot to look forward to. Can’t wait,” he said. ... Sean Couturier said the penalty kill was hurt by losing veteran depth players from last year, such as Tyler Pitlick, Nate Thompson, and Derek Grant. ... Justin Braun said his broken left foot should take about a month to heal. ... Braun said Matt Niskanen’s retirement left a big hole, and team’s defensemen were taken out of their normal roles because they had many different partners. He said it was up to the defensemen to make it work, and they didn’t do that. ... James van Riemsdyk, asked about the possibility of going to Seattle if not protected in the expansion draft, said it will “work out the way it’s supposed to work out” and that he would “love” to stay here. ... Shayne Gostisbehere, another player who might not be protected in the expansion draft, also said he wants to remain in Philly. He will get married in August. “About time,” he cracked. “Been together for seven years.” ... Claude Giroux said he will be honest with Fletcher if asked to give his input into what the team needs. Such as? “That’s going to stay between me and Chuck,” Giroux said.