Flyers

About to 'get after it,' Nolan Patrick ready for 'big steps'

usa-nolan-patrick-flyers-philadelphia.jpg
USA Today Images

About to 'get after it,' Nolan Patrick ready for 'big steps'

Nolan Patrick is no slouch in the strength and speed departments.

The 19-year-old is 6-foot-2, 198 pounds and showed deceptive bursts of giddy-up during his rookie season as the games grew bigger.

Imagine him after a full summer of training?

Patrick, already polished when it comes to being in front of the cameras, had his arms crossed and usual game face on — despite little emotion, he was picturing it.

"It's exciting. First time I can get after it," he said last week at his end-of-the-season press conference. "It's going to be a big summer for me. I'm not satisfied with how the year was or how my year was, so I'm looking to take big steps here."

Summer is a precious time for hockey players. It's when they can hammer away at specific areas to improve, especially with their bodies and skill sets.

Patrick hasn't been so lucky. His past two summers were marred by surgery and recovery. Prior to his final junior season and all-important draft year, Patrick underwent sports hernia surgery. Then, last June, he had abdominal surgery 10 days before the Flyers selected him No. 2 overall.

Sounds like this is the summer of Nolan Patrick.

"I'm just excited to be able to move," Patrick said. "I couldn't even run last summer. I only had about a month last summer to train, so I'm really excited to take a couple weeks off and then get after it. It's going to be some tough work but I'm excited for it."

Aside from moving and getting stronger, Patrick wants to focus on his shot this offseason while working with his skills coach. Last summer, so much was just about getting on the ice and being prepared enough for training camp.

Once Patrick started gaining back his mobility post surgery and following a nine-game absence because of a concussion, the big-bodied center turned it on, solidifying his role as the team's second-line center and joining the first-unit power play.

With each game, Patrick became more and more conspicuous. When the playoffs arrived, he was one of the Flyers' best forwards during the first-round exit to the Penguins.

"I think it was pretty noticeable when I got confident, I was a different player out there," Patrick said. "It was a big part of my game."

In Patrick's first 40 contests, he put up nine points (three goals, six assists) and a minus-3 rating. Over his final 33 regular-season games, he finished with 21 points (10 goals, 11 assists) and a plus-4 mark.

"You just saw as the year went on, he got comfortable and confident and you started to see exactly why he was the second overall pick," Travis Konecny said. "He's a pretty unique player, not a lot of guys like him — big body, really good hands and pretty reliable."

Sean Couturier, a player with Patrick's type of two-way, all-around game, sees the future with him.

"He's another one of the guys who's just going to take over this team eventually and lead us," Couturier said. "He's got a lot of talent. He's smart. He's really mature for his age. Just the way he plays, the way he handles himself on and off the ice."

That should only improve this offseason. And if Patrick needs any motivation, he can recall his last two summers and how it impacted the introduction of his NHL dream.

"It was a bad start for me. I wasn't doing much to help the team win," Patrick said. "I kind of turned it around as much as I could and tried to contribute as much as I could. No excuses for you guys this summer for next year's start. It's going to be a big summer for me."

Jeremy Roenick's #AtHomeAllStar video has surprise twist ending

Jeremy Roenick's #AtHomeAllStar video has surprise twist ending

The thing about athletes and former athletes is that they're stuck at home just like the rest of us. Only their homes are way bigger and half of them have putting greens in their backyards.

Former Flyer Jeremy Roenick shared a video where he runs a little sports obstacle course of sorts as part of a #AtHomeAllStar challenge. And he's definitely got a pretty sweet backyard.

Roenick shows of the requisite hockey skills but then dabbles in other sports. It's mildly entertaining and absolutely pointless.

The twist ending is perhaps the best part. I can relate to that part, at least.

I feel like there was a missed opportunity to do a cannonball into that pool though.

Subscribe and rate Flyers Talk: Apple Podcasts | Google Play | Spotify | Stitcher | Art19 | YouTube

Click here to download the MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream the Flyers, Sixers and Phillies games easily on your device.

More on the Flyers

Former Flyer Rick Tocchet knows NHL is in difficult spot with coronavirus outbreak

Former Flyer Rick Tocchet knows NHL is in difficult spot with coronavirus outbreak

With much of the sports world’s future unclear, the one thing that is crystal clear is that the situation caused by the coronavirus is something that nobody expected.

Former Flyer and current Arizona Coyotes head coach Rick Tocchet feels this has all been a learning experience. 

“I didn’t think it would be that long, I thought maybe two or three weeks," Tocchet said in a video interview last Thursday with NBC Sports Philadelphia, "but then you see how serious it is.”

Tocchet as a player was as tough as they come. He did everything as a member of the Flyers' franchise and won three Stanley Cups with the Pittsburgh Penguins (two as an assistant coach, one as a player). Tocchet, despite being a coach, has that player’s mentality, and the current league suspension has forced him to change his daily approach a bit.

“I’m a routine guy," he said. "When you take routine away from hockey players, you get a little stir crazy, so I try to have a routine every day.”

Part of Tocchet’s routine is checking in with his players and watching video on his computer, preparing for when and if the NHL season returns. But that won’t be an easy process for hockey, which is different as far as conditioning than the other major sports. 

“Guys need to skate, they need ice," Tocchet said.

“Guys aren’t skating, and to be able to just hop back in there, you have to give these guys a seven-to-10-day training camp.”

How the NHL season returns remains to be seen. Multiple scenarios of beginning with the playoffs have been hypothesized. Regardless of what happens, the likelihood of someone being unhappy is high. 

“I don’t know what’s fair or not," Tocchet said. "If they said teams that are in now get in, I think we’d have to swallow that, and you’re in.”

Tocchet’s Coyotes are currently four points out of the final playoff spot in the Western Conference, so that would be an unfortunate break for the former Flyer who is looking to reach the playoffs for the first time in his third year as head coach in Arizona.

Subscribe and rate Flyers Talk: Apple Podcasts | Google Play | Spotify | Stitcher | Art19 | YouTube

Click here to download the MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream the Flyers, Sixers and Phillies games easily on your device.

More on the Flyers