This offseason, when the Philadelphia Flyers were gifted with the second overall pick in the draft, the team knew they were going to receive potentially an elite player in either Nico Hischier or Nolan Patrick. When Patrick fell in their laps, the Flyers believed their forward corps would be immediately improved, as Patrick was always touted as an NHL-ready prospect.
Fifteen games into the 2017-18 season and Nolan Patrick has one goal and two assists for three points and a +2 rating
This is not to say in any way that Nolan Patrick is a bust. He’s an immensely talented and promising prospect. But relying on a first-year 19-year-old player to step in and produce right away is always a gamble, and right now it doesn’t seem to be paying off. This leaves the Flyers with an apparent issue in depth up-front, as outside of Giroux–Couturier–Voracek, the team is lacking significant scoring.
Luckily for the Flyers, that first line has been especially dominant, combining for 53 points this season. But that production is going to drop at times during the season, and alarmingly, the rest of the Flyers forwards have combined for only 46 points so far.
Philadelphia has been lucky that the production of the first line has helped them to a 7-6-2 record, but there’s little depth to turn to when that well goes dry. Unless Nolan Patrick really begins to hit his stride.