Colorado Avalanche: Nolan Patrick Could Add Consistency

Jun 26, 2015; Sunrise, FL, USA; A general view of the podium on stage before the first round of the 2015 NHL Draft at BB&T Center. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports
Jun 26, 2015; Sunrise, FL, USA; A general view of the podium on stage before the first round of the 2015 NHL Draft at BB&T Center. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports /

While the Colorado Avalanche aren’t guaranteed the first-overall pick in the 2017 NHL draft, they will likely pick center Nolan Patrick if they win it.

As the team that finished with the fewest points in the NHL (48), the Colorado Avalanche has the best chance of winning the first-overall draft pick at this year’s lottery. If you’d like to know exactly how the draft lottery works, read here. However, the Avalanche have a just over 17.5% chance at winning the top pick.

Despite being injured for large parts of last season, center Nolan Patrick is considered the top prospect in this year’s draft. Now, hockey pundits like to say over and over that this year’s draft isn’t as stellar as previous years. However, Patrick is a good player who would benefit the team.

Let’s see what Nolan Patrick brings to the table.

Nolan Patrick

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2016-17 Team: Brandon Wheat Kings (#19)
Date of Birth: September 19, 1998 (18 years old)
Ht: 6’3″
Wt: 198 lbs
Position: Center
Shoots: Right

As you can see, Patrick played in just 33 games for the Brandon Wheat Kings last season, but he got 20 goals and 26 assists in that time. The year before he tore it up with 103 points (41 goals, 61 assists) in 72 games.

Mike Morreale of said of Patrick:

"“The right-shot center is as dangerous a passer as he is a shooter, and has great hockey sense.”"

Dennis Schellenberg of Hockey Prospectus went further in his praise of Nolan Patrick:

"“The Brandon-player combines size, skill and speed and possesses a very well-rounded game. Patrick is a number-one NHL center and there are not many flaws in his game. Makes use of his long reach and strength when protecting the puck and plays an active game, always looking to create something when on the ice. Can distribute the pass as well as finish off plays.”"

Future Considerations had a lot more to say about the young center. The site calls Nolan Patrick “A lethal combo of size, speed and skill.” Indeed, the site praises his skill set by calling it “well rounded” and especially observes his speed and ability to protect the puck. What’s more, the site reiterates that Nolan plays smart hockey, even “beating teams with his IQ.”

The site elaborated in its assessment:

"“…plays very responsibly with the puck, but also makes something happen each time he possesses it…uses his strength and reach to guard the puck, driving his way around the offensive zone…a heads-up, confident passer…has a sharp release on his wrist shot and is capable of beating a goaltender from anywhere in the offensive zone….his slap shot has high-level accuracy and velocity…a ruthless presence off the puck, simply overpowers his opponents…a great leader, commanding respect with his work ethic and consistent high level of play…willing to stand up for his teammates and bring justice as he sees fit.”"

Maybe the Hockey Writers say it best:”Patrick is a guy that does everything well and nothing poorly.”

Here’s Nolan Patrick in action:

That said, the one complaint about Nolan Patrick’s game is that he doesn’t do anything superbly. That could be ok for the Colorado Avalanche, though.

Nolan Patrick and the Avalanche

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Nolan Patrick would have fit the Avalanche’s previous mold, when the team valued grit and size in addition to speed and leadership. He literally would have been a perfect addition to that previous vision.

That’s not to say he wouldn’t complement the current model. Nolan Patrick is an excellent player.He may not be Auston Matthews caliber — or even quite a Nathan MacKinnon. However, I’d say he’s at least on par with Mikko Rantanen and Tyson Jost.

I actually like that Patrick does everything well but no one thing superbly. That can offer the team a consistency it sorely needs. Naturally, every single thing said about him would be a boon to any team.

However, the Hockey Writer’s article made an interesting observation — Nolan Patrick shines when his team is down. The Colorado Avalanche tend to fall apart when things go awry. Maybe Patrick could provide a calming presence.

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If the Colorado Avalanche win the first-overall draft pick — and keep it — it’s a pretty good bet they’d pick Nolan Patrick. I’d say the young center could even make the team out of the preseason. Ultimately, though not a franchise player, Patrick certainly will be a boon to his NHL team.