Sunday Number: Please stay healthy, Nolan Patrick

The first edition of the Sunday Number takes a stress-fraught look at the injury history of the Philadelphia Flyers’ most promising new prospect, Nolan Patrick.

Welcome to the Sunday Number, a weekly feature that will take a look at a Flyers-related number or statistic that matters, one way or another. You may recognize the concept from similar features on other sites, but that’s okay. As the famous poet and clear influence on this blog T.S. Eliot once said, “good writers borrow, great writers steal.”

Let’s just get to the number.

26%

That’s the percentage of regular season games that newly drafted center Nolan Patrick has missed in his junior hockey league career. Patrick’s injury history has been widely documented, and it’s the main reason why he was available for the Flyers to select him with the 2nd overall pick.

Two separate upper body injuries plagued Patrick in his first two seasons with the Brandon Wheat Kings. Then, after a 2015-16 regular season which saw him play a full season’s slate of games and score 102 points in the process, Patrick suffered a sports hernia injury in the playoffs. The effects of this latest injury would persist into last season, holding Patrick to 33 games and limiting his effectiveness. It turned out that doctors had only addressed one side of his groin, when in fact both sides had been damaged.

Injuries have been and will continue to be the biggest concern surrounding Patrick. As tantalizing a prospect as he is- scouts see a strong two-way center with top-6 potential- Patrick simply won’t be able to make the kind of impact he’s capable of if he can’t stay on the ice. We’ve also seen that even when Patrick can play through an injury, it still prevents him from performing at his highest level.

It’s true that Ron Hextall must have done his research before drafting Patrick and concluded the young center to be worth the risk. But Patrick’s health will surely be one of the team’s biggest concerns as he begins what will hopefully be a long and productive Flyers career.