Nolan Patrick’s Role with the Knights

Nolan Patrick Making a play for the Vegas Golden Knights. (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)
Nolan Patrick Making a play for the Vegas Golden Knights. (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images) /

This off-season the Knights went after former first-round pick, Nolan Patrick, in hopes of increasing their offensive production. What exactly is his role going to look like on the Knights? Could he be better utilized?

The Vegas Golden Knights went out and traded for former first-round pick, Nolan Patrick, in hopes of increasing their depth and talent at the forward position. Nolan Patrick coming out of the NHL entry draft was a projected super-star but, his career has taken a unexpected turn. When it came time for him to play in the NHL, he was underwhelming.

To this day, Patrick’s success is a myth among scouts and personnel around the league. One of my personal favorites who got me into NHL draft scouting, The Athletic’s Corey Pronman, stated this about Patrick in his prospect rankings:

I like to pretend I have all the answers, but I honestly have no idea how to explain Patrick’s season and overall lack of NHL success. Some NHL scouts think his compete level is an issue. Some scouts attribute his injury history to his play. All I know is a 6-foot-2 forward with his skill and hockey sense who can skate should be a good NHL player by this point. I’ve never seen Patrick as someone who lacks compete in my viewings over the years, but eventually something has to explain why it isn’t clicking. I still see way too much talent that I think at some point he has to become a second-line forward, but the clock is ticking at this stage.”

So far this season Patrick has played in two games with the Vegas Golden Knights. Now, what has he brought to the table? So far this season Patrick has averages 15:32 on the ice. However, it’s not how often your on the ice, it’s what you accomplish while your out there. So with that being said, Patrick has totaled five shots on goal, but nothing to show for it. However, he’s been able to total four hits, a takeaway, and and a block while on the ice. Once again, not very productive when he is averaging 15 minutes of game-play. So what exactly does he offer the Knights? That’s where it get’s tricky.

Patrick is a 6’2″ center who skates well, very smart with the puck, and has pretty good skill. However, when will it be time to try changing his role to maximize his value? There are a couple different way’s to go about it, but could he be better used as a fourth-line/checking line option?

Being 6’2″, Patrick is a very strong player, and could make for a great forechecking player. After trying to utilize him at the net for the last couple seasons, it’s starting to get more and more clear that he may not be able to accomplish that at this level. Now the reason and understanding of that is still boggling, but maybe he just doesn’t have it in him. However, if they start to utilize him on the PK and use him as a fourth-line/forechecking player, and let him use his legs to create opportunities from the slot, maybe his game can finally get to a level that is close to where he was projected.

It’s hard to make an argument that he’ll become the player everyone thought he would be, but the Knights do have a history of rejuvenating careers. When the Knights acquired William Karlsson, and Chandler Stephenson, they were able to rejuvenate their careers. Could Patrick be the next one despite having a very vague presence on the ice through two games?