April 10, 2021
The Flyers have some slim hope this weekend of perhaps bucking the trends of the last month and a half, winning games against the Bruins and Sabres and perhaps to make it possible for Philadelphia's front office to justify not selling assets ahead of Monday's NHL trade deadline.
But they haven't inspired much confidence lately, as they currently sit six points out of the final playoff spot in the division — and even a pair of wins keeps them below .500 and on the outside looking in.
Which means it's time for Flyers fans to get mentally prepared to say goodbye to some friendly faces, like Shayne Gostisbehere, Michael Raffl or Scott Laughton — all of whom could be on the move in the next three days. But it sounds like there may be one other big name on the trading block: former second overall pick Nolan Patrick.
"I'm hearing that [the Flyers] shopped hard Nolan Patrick," NHL insider Nick Kypreos said on his show Friday. "Obviously the injuries have taken their toll. As a buyer I think you still like the upside, but health is a big concern... I would think if you can get Nolan Patrick, if you are the Edmonton Oilers, I don't think it would get that expensive."
This is not the first we've heard of the Flyers potentially shopping Patrick ahead of the deadline. Sportsnet's Elliotte Friedman also mentioned the young center on a recent edition of his 31 Thoughts podcast.
“I wonder if it’s time," Friedman said. "I do think at times they have been asked about him, and they’ve kind of said ‘no.’ You know, right-shot center, second overall pick; you don’t want to give up on that too easy. But I wonder if both player and team are beginning to wonder if it’s time. We’ll see where it goes.”
The Flyers basically won the draft lottery back in 2017, and Patrick made his debut as a 19-year-old the following season, scoring 30 points in 73 games. A year later, the center did not improve his production, and injury woes stemming from migraines sidelined him for his third campaign. This year, amid high expectations to make some kind of leap to prove he is a top 6 winger, Patrick has just seven points in 38 games.
Here's a bit more in the form of a thread from Flyers.com writer Bill Meltzer.
A thread about Nolan Patrick incoming. What concerns me, from an offensive standpoint is the long dry spells where he's simply not getting to the scoring areas more than an isolated play or two. It's NOT that he's never shown himself capable of scoring in the NHL.— Bill Meltzer (@billmeltzer) April 9, 2021
In year two, though, you'd look for offensive progression but season was basically a carbon copy (13g, 31 pts). Same long droughts, same hot streaks.— Bill Meltzer (@billmeltzer) April 9, 2021
Had spells of 9 points in 10 games (Oct. 20 to Nov. 10, 5g, 5a) and 8 points in 8 games (Jan. 13 to Feb 4, 5g, 3 a).
In terms of bottom-line productivity, he had a strong training camp then started season with 5 points in 7 games (2g, 3a). Ever since, he has 2 points (2g, 0a) in his last 31 games. Two PP points all season, one of which was in 1st pd on opening night, despite being PP regular.— Bill Meltzer (@billmeltzer) April 9, 2021
Just two points in the last 31 games. No wonder the Flyers are ready to shake things up at the center spot.
Patrick will be a restricted free agent come the summer, and if the Flyers don't trade him, they'll need to decide whether they want to extend and invest in a player who still has some potential — he's still just 22 — but who could benefit from a change of scenery. Or frankly, who could simply be a bust.
That the Flyers are willing to, according to Kypreos, jettison Patrick for cheap is not a very good sign, as leaks like this before the trade deadline are usually blatantly beefing up a player's value, not implying he'd be an inexpensive acquisition for someone.
Kypreos also mentioned Laughton as a potential top 6 guy who could be on the move — a 26-year-old who will become a free agent this summer too.
The 2021 NHL trade deadline arrives at 3 p.m. this coming Monday.
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