Nolan Patrick will miss approximately seven to 10 days with an upper-body injury, Flyers general manager Ron Hextall said Thursday afternoon.
Patrick left the Flyers' 7-4 win over the Senators on Wednesday night in the first period after a routine, legal check by Ottawa's Mark Stone. Patrick went shoulder-first into the boards but his head appeared to whip back.
Nolan Patrick has not returned since this collision in the first period. Hopefully it's nothing serious. pic.twitter.com/ZeacjQAwgd— Brandon Murphy (@2Murphy8) October 11, 2018
While the Flyers did not use the C-word, one has to wonder if the "upper-body injury" is a concussion, especially considering Patrick suffered one last October. The Flyers, like other NHL teams, refuse to be fully transparent when it comes to injuries.
If you recall, Patrick's concussion last season occurred when Ducks winger Chris Wagner checked him into the boards. It wasn't a vicious hit by any means, just like the one that happened Wednesday in Ottawa.
To be fair, though, Patrick's "upper-body injury" could be something other than a concussion. He was officially listed as "day to day" last season with his concussion and the Flyers did give a specific timeline Thursday, so that could be a sign it may not be a concussion.
This is the problem with the "upper-body" and "lower-body" designations.
Patrick played just 3 minutes and 30 seconds Wednesday and also took a stick up high. He has yet to record a point and is a minus-5 in four games this season but has been locked in as the Flyers' second-line center.
With the seven-to-10-day diagnosis, though, the Flyers dodged a bullet. Losing Patrick for any significant time period with James van Riemsdyk already out would have been a major blow to the Flyers' forward group.
The Flyers have four games scheduled between now and the next 10 days. At the minimum, he'll miss two games. With head injuries, though, it could linger.
In the meantime, the Flyers do have options to replace Patrick at 2C. Dave Hakstol could elevate Mikhail Vorobyev to the second line and have Jori Lehtera and Jordan Weal man the third-and-fourth-line centers in some capacity. The Flyers on Thursday also placed van Riemsdyk on injured reserve, according to CapFriendly.com, which opens the door for a potential call-up.
Scott Laughton has almost exclusively played left wing this season and preseason but can play center. And, of course, the Flyers could always move Claude Giroux back in the middle.
Still, losing Patrick hurts the Flyers in the short term. If the "upper-body injury" doesn't linger, though, they should be able to weather this storm.