The Flyers officially open development camp July 7, but if you're expecting to see Nolan Patrick on the ice, you're out of luck.
Patrick, who the Flyers drafted with the No. 2 overall pick last Friday, underwent abdominal surgery on June 13 before the draft, according to general manager Ron Hextall.
Hextall said Patrick is anywhere between two to four weeks from being fit to play and resuming full activities. The Flyers hosted the 18-year-old center on June 7 for medical evaluation at the practice facility, where Hextall said they gained "clarity" on the injury and later understood surgery would be had prior to the draft.
"When in fact he was examined, this is what was found and this is the injury that affected Nolan the whole year," Hextall said Friday on a conference call.
"I actually felt better about it once we found out what the issue was and what had been bothering him all year, from last season's offseason training and conditioning to the start of the year and throughout the year."
The surgery, performed by Dr. William Meyers, was in complete relation to Patrick's perturbing and well-publicized hernia injury, according to Hextall.
Injuries forced Patrick to play in just 33 games last season with the Brandon Wheat Kings. At the NHL Scouting Combine, he revealed he had a misdiagnosed double sports hernia injury.
Patrick had surgery on his right groin last summer, but he said he had a similar injury on the left side that went undetected until after the year.
"I don't want to get into pointing fingers or misdiagnosed whatever," Hextall said. "What I do know is Nolan was hurt last summer and it was repaired on [June 13]. So, again, to me that brought clarity to us in terms of what's been nagging him the whole year, there was something there. I don't want to say it was a positive, but when you look at everything that happened to him during the year, in and out, now we know what the issue was. I actually talked to Nolan [Thursday] and he said he feels terrific, so we're excited that he had it done.
"There's a lot of information out there, and we had to try to sift through what's going on here, and once our doctor saw him and said, 'There's an issue here, this is what it is,' it sort of brought clarity for us."
Hextall was impressed by Patrick after learning how long he had dealt with the injury and the circumstances from it.
"He actually played through it, which I think is a sign of how tough the kid is," Hextall said. "If it had been done last summer, he probably would have played the entire season."
That may have been why Patrick was such an advocate of undergoing the surgery as soon as possible. He pushed for it after meeting with the Flyers instead of waiting until the results of draft night. It was Patrick's decision and other teams were aware of the pre-draft procedure.
"He was proactive, his agent (Kevin Epp) reached out to us the next day and said, 'Nolan wants to get it done on his own,'" Hextall said. "We were like, 'Whoa.' Because that essentially saved two weeks for him, so I thought that certainly showed the character of the young man.
"He wanted to have it done because he didn't want to sacrifice two weeks of summer training and recovery … we would have had it done on the Monday or Tuesday, probably, after the draft."
The Flyers knew about Patrick's injuries before drafting him and were comfortable still selecting him. Patrick is projected by many to be on the opening night roster. Barring any setbacks, Patrick is expected to be fully ready for training camp in late September, according to Hextall. Patrick turns 19 years old that month. Given his age, he has to either make the Flyers' roster when camp breaks or be returned to junior for the full season. Hextall said the Flyers are looking at the big picture in regards to that decision. Patrick will be at Flyers Skate Zone starting Sunday and for the "biggest part of the summer," the Flyers' GM noted.
"He's got plenty of time to get to his summer training," Hextall said. "His rehab right now is to start partial summer training. It's not like he hasn't done anything, he scored pretty well at the combine, it's not like he came in in bad shape.
"He's got long enough now where we believe he can be in shape and be at his best in training camp."
As for development camp, in all, there will be 40 prospects attending in July. It begins next Friday at 8 a.m. at Flyers Skate Zone in Voorhees, New Jersey, and is open to the public.
The camp ends July 12 with the Trial on the Isle.
Other notable prospects attending include Oskar Lindblom, German Rubtsov and Carter Hart.