Steve Patrick was at home mowing his lawn when he got the call. A buddy of his heard it on the radio — he was selected 20th overall by the Buffalo Sabres in the 1980 NHL draft. His son, Nolan, knows that kind of obscurity isn’t an option. For years center Nolan Patrick has been touted as a No. 1 pick, and instead of riding a John Deere he’ll be in the stands at United Center in Chicago when the draft kicks off next month. That’s in part because the younger Patrick has always been touted as No. 1, not No. 20. It’s also because, due to a significant injury history despite being only 18, Patrick has still kept that top-pick status in the eyes of many experts. The eyes of Ray Shero, the general manager of the New Jersey Devils, who own the top pick, are now the most important. If Shero decides to take Swiss-born center Nico Hischier or someone else, Patrick would be available when the Flyers select at No. 2. “If someone doesn’t want to take me because of my injuries this year, so be it,” Patrick said in a phone interview. “I’ll be happy to go anywhere.” Last summer, Patrick had sports hernia surgery. Flyers captain Claude Giroux and defenseman Shayne Gostisbehere each had the same surgeries last offseason as well. Giroux, late in the season, said it had a huge effect on his play and his statistics, which took another dip in the 2016-17 season. Patrick admitted that he wasn’t himself either after surgery followed a campaign of 102 points in 72 games for the Brandon Wheat Kings in the regular season and another 30 in 21 playoff games. They won the Ed Chynoweth Cup as champions of the Western Hockey League.
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If injuries mean Nolan Patrick drops to Flyers, 'so be it'
Courier-Post | May 23