Nolan Patrick has said he expects to play this season.
General manager Chuck Fletcher has said he expects Patrick to play this season.
Alain Vigneault has a different mindset on the matter.
It's February and the Flyers had 29 games left in their playoff push entering Thursday. Vigneault is focused on what he has at his disposal, not what he might have.
Despite Patrick taking part in Wednesday's skills practice and Thursday's morning skate, the status of the 21-year-old center has not changed, according to the Flyers' head coach. Battling a daily fight with a migraine disorder, Patrick has not played in 2019-20 and has been out since the beginning of training camp. There is no set timeframe for his return.
"I think I told this to the fans a couple of days ago when we met the season ticket holders, my expectations are that Nolan’s not coming back," Vigneault said Thursday after morning skate at the Wells Fargo Center. "In my mind, he hasn’t been here since the beginning of the year and I’m moving forward that way. I work with the guys that are here.”
Vigneault said his expectation is not from a medical standpoint.
“No, this is just my thinking all the time," he said. "He hasn’t been here since Day 1. I’m going into this as if he’s not here. If ever it changes, somebody will let me know. But now he’s not available and I work with the guys that are available.”
Call it a head coach staying in the moment. Vigneault said he does not seek out Fletcher for potential updates on Patrick.
“Usually I get an email now and then," Vigneault said.
He adjusts accordingly when he hears from Flyers director of sports medicine Jim McCrossin regarding a player's health.
"I focus on the guys that are good to go," Vigneault said, "and Jimmy’s the one that tells me who’s good to go.”
If or when Patrick does return, Vigneault will have a decision to make.
Right now, it's not a thought on the head coach's mind.
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.