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Potential No. 1 pick Patrick returns from 35-game absence

Brandon Wheat Kings v Kelowna Rockets

KELOWNA, CANADA - OCTOBER 25: Rourke Chartier #14 of Kelowna Rockets faces off against Nolan Patrick #19 of Brandon Wheat Kings during the first period on October 25, 2014 at Prospera Place in Kelowna, British Columbia, Canada. (Photo by Marissa Baecker/Getty Images)

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Big development for the 2017 NHL Entry Draft on Friday -- Nolan Patrick, the ballyhooed prospect out of WHL Brandon, will make his return to game action after missing 35 contests with an upper-body ailment.

Patrick, 18, is considered to be a strong candidate for the top pick in this year’s draft. The son of former NHLer Steve Patrick, he’s got good bloodlines and impressive size, currently listed at 6-foot-3, 198 pounds.

Patrick’s draft stock skyrocketed following a banner ’15-16 campaign, in which he captured WHL playoff MVP honors after racking up 30 points in 21 games. And that came after a regular season in which he scored 102 points in 72 games, becoming the first 17-year old Wheat King to score over 100 points since 1976-77.

That stock hasn’t exactly slipped because of this latest injury scare, but others have seen theirs rise, and challenge Patrick the No. 1 spot. Chief among them is Swiss forward Nico Hischier, who wowed onlookers with his efforts at the World Juniors.

Patrick’s injury kept him from representing Team Canada at said tournament.