By: Wes Herrmann (@Wes_Herrm)
The debates, for now, can end.
Nolan Patrick will be a Philadelphia Flyer and Nico Hischier will be a New Jersey Devil.
With the second overall pick in the 2017 NHL Entry Draft, the Flyers selected Patrick, immediately following the Devils’ selection of Hischier with the first overall pick. The two centers were neck-and-neck coming into the finish line.
But that hasn’t always been the case. For over a year, Patrick was considered the consensus number one pick. But injuries in years past and a sports hernia injury this year kept him to just 33 games with the Brandon Wheat Kings of the WHL.
That didn’t slow Patrick’s production, though. He accumulated 46 points last season. The year before, as a 17 year old, he scored 102 points in 72 games.
But as the finish line inched closer and closer, Hischier started to overtake Patrick. In Bob McKenzie, Craig Button and Jeff Marek’s latest draft rankings, the Switzerland native was ranked first in each one.
Hischier is the more dynamic of the pair, but Patrick is the better all-around player and clearly, knows his way in the offensive zone. Patrick is also the more NHL-ready player and is likely to be in Philly’s lineup this October.
As for comparisons, Patrick has been compared to Jonathan Toews and Eric Staal. Hischier has been compared to Pavel Datsyuk.
Patrick also joins former Wheat Kings teammate Ivan Provorov with the Flyers and Brandon alum Brayden Schenn.
For the Flyers, whether they got Patrick or Hischier, the organization had every reason to be happy. They’ve won the draft in the easiest decision it could have made.
While the debate of “who goes number one?” has ended, the debate on who’s the better player has just started. The next decade should be an exciting time for Patrick and the Flyers.
Looking beyond the pick, the Flyers may not be done tonight. General manager Ron Hextall has said he’s interested in adding a goalie tonight, if not this weekend.
Pay attention to Philly Is Flyer here and on Twitter for the latest Flyers news and analysis over draft weekend.
Image Credit: NHL.com