VOORHEES, N.J. — Five days ago, Nolan Patrick was in rural Canada shooting ducks. Now, the future Flyers center is focused entirely on shooting pucks following a rather eventful offseason that included the draft and offseason surgery.
“It was exciting,” Patrick said Monday following his first practice in a Flyers sweater. “My first time skating with some of the guys here. I got in a good amount of time and training this summer so I’m feeling confident in my game and it went well.”
Patrick has begun his push at making the Flyers' opening night roster. The No. 2 overall pick in the draft was one of 25 prospects on the ice for the first day of Flyers rookie camp after arriving in Philadelphia over the weekend.
“I thought he had a good day, looked strong,” head coach Dave Hakstol said. “I think we’ll able to see his progression as he goes through camp. Sometimes, as young players, there’s different points in camp where you see young guys hit a wall. ... He’s just got to go out and continue building his game and, as you go to main camp, it’s going to get tougher.”
Patrick said he finally felt 100 percent around three weeks ago when he regained his conditioning skating three times a week before increasing his workload to four times a week in the days leading up to camp. Part of his offseason regimen included off-ice work in a remote location near the Manitoba/Ontario border with a group of NHL veterans that included three-time Stanley Cup champion and fellow Winnipeg native Jonathan Toews.
“He’s a really intelligent guy. One of the best guys I’ve ever met,” Patrick said about Toews. “I’d be here all day if I listed the things he taught me. ... He knows a lot about different kinds of training, nutrition and stuff like that.”
Patrick’s offseason skating program in Philadelphia was delayed because of an abscessed boil that formed on his face.
“I was hiding with a hood up for a bit there,” Patrick said regarding the condition, which lasted about five days.
Once Patrick got past that unexpected obstacle, his regimen included what he referred to as “a lot of mobility stuff” and “getting his hips back to where they needed to be” as he looks to make the jump from the Western Hockey League straight to the NHL.
“That’s my goal coming in," Patrick said. "Just going to compete as hard as I can, and do everything I can to earn a spot. The main thing for me is competing every day and playing as hard as I can.”
Rookie line combos
For an organization with one of the deepest talent pools of prospects in the NHL, there’s a real possibility that as many as four rookies could start the season on the Flyers' opening night roster, with two on defense to go along with Patrick and winger Oskar Lindblom. Last season, defenseman Ivan Provorov and forward Travis Konecny, the Flyers' two first-round picks in the 2015 draft, made the big club out of camp.
“I think the sense of opportunity has been made very clear over the summertime,” Hakstol said. “There’s opportunity for veterans and there’s opportunity for young guys. Guys should be excited. There’s guys in position hopefully to have good camps and to take advantage of some of those opportunities.”
Line combinations for Day 1 of camp:
Radel Fazleev — Mike Vecchione — Nicolas Aube-Kubel
Connor Bunnaman — Nolan Patrick — Anthony Salinitri
Carsen Twarynski — Mikhail Vorobyev — Ivan Kosorenkov
Oskar Lindblom — German Rubtsov — Pascal Laberge
Isaac Ratcliffe — Morgan Frost — Matthew Strome/Maksim Sushko
News and notes
• Defenseman Robert Hagg is not part of the rookie camp even if 2017-18 will serve as his rookie season. With three full professional seasons at the AHL level (over 200 games played) and seven defensemen on the rookie roster, general manager Ron Hextall allowed Hagg to join the veterans for the beginning of camp on Sept. 15.
• Hakstol will evaluate Wednesday’s rookie game against the Islanders from the press box of the Wells Fargo Center with Flyers assistant coach Gord Murphy and Phantoms assistant Kerry Huffman behind the bench.
• Shayne Gostisbehere had planned originally to fly his family out of Florida by way of charter to avoid Hurricane Irma, but after further deliberations, the Gostisbeheres elected to fuel up and hit the road. His sister drove from the Tampa area to Nashville while Gostisbehere's parents made the drive safely from Fort Lauderdale to North Carolina. Aside from some leakage at his sister’s residence, it appears their homes remained intact.
Preseason TV schedule
The Flyers' preseason broadcast schedule was announced on Monday.
Of the seven preseason games the Flyers will play, three will be broadcasted on TCN — Sept. 26 vs. the New York Rangers (7 p.m.), Sept. 28 vs. Boston (7 p.m.), Oct. 1 vs. the New York Islanders (5 p.m.).