Nolan Patrick Picking Up Where He Left Off In WHL, 2017 NHL Draft Order

Nolan Patrick Picking Up Where He Left Off In WHL, 2017 NHL Draft Order
Photo: Wheat Kings Facebook
The likely first overall pick in the 2017 NHL Draft, Nolan Patrick, returned to the Wheat Kings of the Western Hockey League last week and immediately affirmed his high praise.

Patrick, 18, had sports hernia surgery in July and returned for the team's first six games before an unrelated injury forced him to miss the next 35 games.

However, in his first game in more than three months, Patrick jumped right back on the scoresheet. Patrick recorded two goals and two assists to lead Brandon to an 8-5 victory over a bottom-dwelling Kootenay team.

"It's never fun watching, so being back and getting a win on the first night back is obviously pretty nice," Patrick said following the game.

Before the injury, the Wheat Kings captain had tallied four goals and nine points in six games.

Patrick made his WHL debut in 2013-14, where his father, Steve, played Juniors. Nolan scored a goal in a three-game stint with Brandon after wrapping up a season with the Winnipeg Thrashers Midget AAA team.

Steve Patrick was selected 20th overall by the Buffalo Sabres in the 1980 NHL Draft and went on to play 250 NHL games in parts of six seasons with the Sabres, New York Rangers and Quebec Nordiques. He scored 40 goals and 108 points in his career.

In his first full season, the Winnipeg native scored 30 goals and 56 points in 55 games for Brandon.

In 2015-16, Patrick had a breakout year, potting 41 goals and adding 61 assists for 102 points in just 71 games, good enough to finish fifth in league scoring.

During his recovery from what was believed to be an abdominal injury, Patrick was forced to miss the 2017 World Junior Championship, where he not only would have made Team Canada, but would have likely been a top-line player.

Swedish defenseman Timothy Liljegren is believed to be Patrick's only contender for the top spot in June's first NHL expansion draft since 2000.

Liljegren, 17, also missed the 2017 World Juniors and most of the 2016-17 season with mononucleosis.

Brandon's next two games come against the Saskatoon Blades on Saturday, followed by the second-place Regina Pats on Sunday.
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