End to End: Should we be concerned with Flyers' Nolan Patrick?

End to End: Should we be concerned with Flyers' Nolan Patrick?

Updated: 4:45 p.m.

Going End to End today are NBC Sports Philadelphia's Tom Dougherty and Jordan Hall.

The question: Should there be concern over Nolan Patrick?

With the Flyers off today, we didn't expect an update on Patrick's status, but here we are. The Flyers revealed that Patrick will miss seven to 10 days with an "upper-body injury."

But it’s safe to speculate that Patrick could have a concussion. He left Wednesday’s game in Ottawa after this innocent collision where his head made contact with the boards.

Patrick suffered a concussion last season. It doesn’t take much to get one. But Patrick will be out seven to 10 days, which is a very specific timeline. That could mean it's another "upper-body injury" for Patrick, who was also whacked with a high stick in the first period Wednesday. Still, we won't know exactly what his “upper-body injury” is because being transparent about injuries isn’t in the Flyers’ nature. Losing Patrick for any significant time period would be devastating.

Already without James van Riemsdyk, the Flyers’ forward group is basically the same as last season except for Mikhail Vorobyev replacing Valtteri Filppula as the third-line center. Take Patrick out of the equation and the Flyers are in deep trouble.

The 20-year-old hasn’t found the scoresheet yet this season, but he’s shown flashes. I haven’t been discouraged by his play. Slow start, sure, but that’s it. But without him, the Flyers’ center group is depleted. If Patrick is out for a lengthy period, moving Claude Giroux back to the middle would likely be the team’s best card to play.

And that’s not ideal, either, because the top line finally clicked Wednesday.

We had to wait and see about the severity of Patrick's upper-body injury suffered in the first period of Wednesday night's 7-4 win over the Senators.

It could have been a possible concussion as head trainer Jim McCrossin was examining the area of Patrick's head on the bench. Patrick missed nine games last season because of a concussion, so there's a recent history there.

As for Patrick's somewhat slow start, don't be too concerned. In our Fearless Forecast predictions piece, I wrote how Patrick has more of a steady growth to his game than one crazy jump. Patrick just turned 20 years old last month and he's going to get more comfortable in the NHL, but that could still be developing.

Here's what his uncle James Patrick said to NBC Sports Philadelphia in June 2017.

He almost always wants to be comfortable and then he really starts to exert himself. I felt like every playoff round in three years that he played with Brandon, the first game it was always like, 'Come on, let's get going.' He had to feel out who's good on their team, who he might be intimidated by, whatever, and then by Game 4, he was the best player on the ice. 

It's almost like, 'OK, I have to feel it out first,' but then, 'OK, now I know what this guy is about, now I'm going to run him, I'm going to play hard, I'm going to be hard on him.' He will play that way.

He's just always been when he feels comfortable, then he starts to really excel.

So, Patrick might be a natural slow starter.

Is his production worth watching? Absolutely, but I wouldn't be overly concerned with zero points through three games and 3:30 of a period thus far. 

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Flyers trade rumors: Could Chuck Fletcher strike major deal with Blues?

Flyers trade rumors: Could Chuck Fletcher strike major deal with Blues?

With the holiday roster freeze six days away, expect the speculation game to heat up. The trade deadline is still 10 weeks away, but business is starting to shake out. We’ve seen a couple of minor trades this week and some player movement on the waiver wire.

Since Chuck Fletcher took over as the Flyers’ general manager last week, he’s engaged with half of the league, a source told NBC Sports Philadelphia. Fletcher will be busy over the course of the next two months as he looks to upgrade his roster. He reportedly wants to add a veteran defenseman, a top-nine forward and upgrade goaltending.

The Flyers are not the only team seeking change. Another team that had lofty expectations entering the season is the Blues, who have already fired their head coach Mike Yeo and replaced him with former Flyers coach Craig Berube on an interim basis.

According to The Athletic’s Pierre LeBrun, Blues GM Doug Armstrong wants to “rattle the cage,” is in “listening mode” and is “open-minded in terms of what comes next.” The Athletic’s Jeremy Rutherford told 101 ESPN Radio St. Louis on Wednesday that Armstrong “is in a situation where all bets are off” and, well … 

The scuttle-buck that I’ve heard is that a couple general managers around the league have said that they’re hearing the big names are on the block. Everything’s open. Even Vladimir Tarasenko. A GM said, ‘I heard Vladdy’s available.’

Even Tarasenko? Rutherford added that he could see a scenario this season in which the Blues move one of their big names. “I really do think that’s a possibility,” he said. It’s important to note the Flyers and Blues have not been directly linked in trade rumors. With that, let’s take a look at which Blues could interest the Flyers.

Vladimir Tarasenko

This is a no-brainer. If Tarasenko could be had, it’s safe to say every team in the league would call Armstrong to gauge interest. He’s 27, has four years left on his contract that carries a reasonable $7.5 million cap hit, and is one of the league’s premier goal-scorers.

Tarasenko has toppled the 30-goal mark the past four seasons and since 2013-14, has the sixth-most goals (179) and second-most even-strength goals (134) in the league. This season, he has nine goals in 29 games and is on pace for a 25-goal campaign.

Players like Tarasenko don’t become available very often, especially when we consider his contract. He has a no-trade clause, but that doesn’t kick in until next season. Fletcher has a bevy of assets at his disposal, from NHL players to prospects to draft picks — the Flyers have nine selections in 2019. The Blues may want to “rattle the cage,” but moving Tarasenko in-season seems like a panic move. The Flyers have plenty of pieces in the cupboard to acquire a player like Tarasenko but it seems unlikely.

Alex Pietrangelo

Nick Kypreos reported Saturday on Sportsnet that while the Blues aren’t shopping their captain, Pietrangelo isn’t entirely untouchable. If the Flyers are seeking a veteran defenseman, they likely won’t find a better one available than Pietrangelo. There’s a caveat, though, as he’s currently on long-term injured reserve with a hand injury.

Pietrangelo has a no-trade clause with one more season left on his contract after this season with a $6.5 million cap hit. He’s one of the top two-way defensemen in the league and has been for a while. Since 2011-12, he’s ninth in the NHL among blueliners with 322 points and 10th in assists (250). He has 11 points in 24 games this season.

There’s a lot to like about Pietrangelo. He’s a right-handed shot, can play in all situations and a leader. Pairing him with Ivan Provorov would be a solid fit. As would be the case with Tarasenko, the price tag would be high, but it’s one the Flyers would be wise to consider.

Fletcher has cap space and the assets to make a deal happen. The NTC comes into play. First, is Pietrangelo willing to waive it? And second, would he do so to come to Philly? He’s eligible for an extension this summer and this would be a long-term move rather than a short-term fix.

The asking price would be high and likely cost the Flyers something like three prospects and a first-round pick. You’d think St. Louis would ask for a Morgan Frost-level prospect. It might even cost a young NHL player too. Carter Hart is off the table, but looking at the Blues’ goalie situation, Felix Sandstrom could potentially be part of a package.

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Flyers with a 'f---ing awful' collapse in mind-blowing loss to Flames

Flyers with a 'f---ing awful' collapse in mind-blowing loss to Flames

CALGARY, Alberta — Long after most of his teammates had removed their gear and hit the showers, Ivan Provorov was still sitting in his locker stall in a daze, in a disbelief after what had transpired.

“That’s as bad as it gets," Dale Weise said. "That’s f---ing awful."

The Flyers were 80 seconds away from taking two points out of Calgary, clinging to a 5-3 lead.

Calgary’s Rasmus Andersson scored his first NHL goal on a shot from the point that Anthony Stolarz never saw. Even after that, it appeared the Flyers might survive as they cleared their zone with roughly 18 seconds remaining in the game, only to sit back and watch Calgary’s top line pull off a Hail Mary with Sean Monahan scoring with seven seconds remaining.

Then, 35 seconds into overtime, the collapse was made complete by Johnny Gaudreau's game-winner, finishing off a shocking 6-5 loss Wednesday for the Flyers (see observations)

“You could tell at that point that they were hungrier and they wanted it more than us,” Stolarz said. “As a goalie, I’ve seen some crazier things. I remember when I was with London, we scored with 0.1 seconds left to win the OHL championship. So you can never take a second off. It’s definitely going to sting a little bit.”

Against this Flames team, the Flyers were playing with fire in the worst way. Calgary now leads the league with seven wins when trailing after two periods coupled with its 49 third-period goals, also tops in the NHL. 

An undisciplined Flyers team committed four penalties in under 11 minutes, allowing Calgary four consecutive power-play opportunities (see highlights). Impressively, behind Stolarz's stellar play in net, the Flyers not only killed off those penalties, but Sean Couturier also scored shorthanded to take a 5-3 lead with 8:50 remaining.

Still, those repeated trips to the box clearly set the tone for a very lopsided third period that saw the Flames outshoot the Flyers, 16-4.

“The penalties set the table for the two tying goals,” Dave Hakstol said. “That kills your bench, kills your energy and drains five or six forwards and everyone else is just sitting there.”

Wayne Simmonds' pointless roughing penalty two minutes into the third period started the nonstop trips to the box. Scott Laughton and Michael Raffl followed with back-to-back holding calls and Shayne Gostisbehere was whistled for slashing.  

“We did it every way you can,” Hakstol said. “We took a roughing penalty 200 feet from our net, a holding penalty, a slashing penalty. At 4-2, we’re still trying to make fancy plays that end up in turnovers in the neutral zone when you should just be locking down the game.”

As they preach about finding ways to win, the Flyers are mastering the technique of finding different ways to lose a game — whether it’s coughing up two-goal third-period leads (twice in three weeks) or a game that eventually leads to a blowout.

“We’ve got to find a way to reset,” Weise said. “We get embarrassed in Winnipeg. We’re playing OK there and we shoot ourselves in the foot.

“It’s embarrassing.”

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