The Vegas Golden Knights have been overcoming injuries since the very beginning of the season. Now, every team has to deal with injuries, especially in a game as physical and as exciting as hockey, but not like this.
The Vegas Golden Knights, since the beginning of the season, have struggled to simply keep players on the ice. The Knights, too my count, have had 10 players miss at least one game due to injury. However, their inability to keep players on the ice is going to result in some difficult decisions for the Knights organization very soon.
The Vegas Golden Knights injury bug is no secret to teams around the league, however, they also know that things are starting to look up for the Knights. After being able to get captain, Mark Stone back, and Max Pacioretty, things have begun to really click. However, there is another name that is close to returning for the Knights: Nolan Patrick.
Nolan Patrick was a former first-round pick made by the Philadelphia Flyers in 2017. However, unfortunately for the Flyers, that pick didn’t quite pan out for them. After selecting him second overall in the NHL entry draft, his stint with them was quite vague. That’s where the Vegas Golden Knights come into play.
This past off-season the Vegas Golden Knights made a trade to acquire the center from the Flyers as a part of a three team trade. The Vegas Golden Knights received Nolan Patrick from the Flyers which doesn’t exactly fit the Knights m.o. or does it?
I stated in my recent article about how William Karlsson never quite lived up to the hype while he was in Columbus, but he ultimately found a place to re-start his career with the Knights. Same goes for center, Chandler Stephenson.
Chandler Stephenson was a third-round selection by the Washington Capitals in 2012. However, after a rough stretch with the Capitals, he was claimed by the Vegas Golden Knights in the expansion draft. Since that point, he has continued to grow as a player which has led to an increase in production.
The Vegas Golden Knights, after seeing what they were able to do with both Karlsson and Stephenson, they have begun to target players with high upside. That fits Nolan Patrick too a tee. Patrick was supposed to be a cornerstone piece for the Flyers but hasn’t quite lived up to that. However, he hasn’t quite had the opportunity for it.
After starting the season as the Vegas Golden Knights third-line center alongside Peyton Krebs, and Evgenii Dadonov, he found himself later becoming apart of the extensive injury list. The injury hasn’t quite been confirmed but what we do know is that it was an upper-body injury.
After missing the last 46 days and 20 games, Nolan Patrick’s return could be nearing. Patrick was on the ice this past Sunday in a red non-contact jersey.
As you can see above, Nolan Patrick wasn’t doing a whole lot, but he was back on the ice which is a good sign. However, the purpose of this article wasn’t to give an injury update. The purpose of this article is help paint a picture on what his return could mean for the Vegas Golden Knights roster.
Over the course of the past two months there has been a lot of movement in the organization. For example, when Mark Stone and Max Pacioretty went down- they called up Jake Leschyshyn and Jonas Rondbjerg. When Alec Martinez first went down, the Knights called up Daniil Miromanov. When things started to get too thin down in the minors, they claimed Adam Brooks and Michael Amadio off of waivers.
As you can see, there has been quite a lot of movement just in the couple decisions they made. However, Nolan Patrick’s return is going to make the Knights send someone down or place someone on waivers in order to send them down to Henderson.
His return to the Golden Knights roster could cause a lot more problems that you’d think but if his return is closer to January, it may be easier for the Knights to fit him into the lineup. That’s a story for another day though. In the mean-time, Patrick’s return is going to create quite a bit of pressure on the Knights coaching staff. They will have to determine if Patrick is worth playing over some of these other players or if he is going to be a healthy scratch.