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Training Camp

Patrick 'pretty comfortable out there' on first day of Flyers camp

No. 2 pick in 2017 NHL Draft impresses teammates with hockey IQ

by Adam Kimelman @NHLAdamK / Deputy Managing Editor

VOORHEES, N.J. -- Center Nolan Patrick showed no sign of nerves Friday, his first day of training camp with the Philadelphia Flyers.

"I was pretty comfortable out there," said Patrick, the No. 2 pick in the 2017 NHL Draft. "Just tried to compete as hard as I can, be myself. I think I had a pretty good practice."

Patrick centered a line with left wing Jordan Weal and right wing Wayne Simmonds during the two-hour session at Flyers Skate Zone.

"He's good with the puck, seems really patient," said Simmonds, who led the Flyers with 31 goals last season. "Seems like he's got a really high hockey IQ. Haven't played a game with him yet, but playing with him on Day One was pretty good."

Patrick said things went as well as could he could have hoped.

"Those two guys are great players, they both compete really hard during practice and it was fun to start camp with the three of us," he said.

Right wing Jakub Voracek was on the ice during the afternoon session with Patrick after watching him during the Flyers' 4-3 overtime loss to the New York Islanders in a rookie game Wednesday.

"He's always one step ahead of everything," Voracek said. "It's really important because before he gets the puck he knows what he's going to do and not many players have that. From that one game I saw, he's one of the smartest players I've seen play hockey."

Voracek said Patrick's skating could get better, adding that he could say the same for most young players. But it's Patrick's mental speed that sets him apart.

"Sometimes when you're fast mentally, you slow the game down to your pace," he said. "Not too many guys can do that. [Boston Bruins forward David] Krejci can do it, Coots [Flyers center Sean Couturier] can do it. It's not easy to do. … The first three, four steps are important, I'm sure he's going to get better at that. From what I've seen he's a capable player that sets the pace of the game."

Defenseman Ivan Provorov said Patrick doesn't look much different than the player he remembers from two seasons ago when they were teammates with Brandon of the Western Hockey League. In 2015-16, Patrick was fifth in the WHL with 102 points (41 goals, 61 assists), was most valuable player of the WHL playoffs and helped Brandon reach the Memorial Cup.

"His biggest upside is that he's so well-rounded," Provorov said. "There's no weakness to his game. Two-way center, takes care of his defense, very good with the puck, great hockey sense, can make plays, can score goals. … He's very confident. He's very calm with the puck and comfortable making plays and leading the way."

Simmonds said he knows coach Dave Hakstol likes to switch lines frequently during training camp but said he's hoping he, Patrick and Weal are kept together.

"Hopefully it sticks together," he said. "I like that line, me, [Weal] and Patrick. We had pretty good chemistry today."


Main photo courtesy of the Philadelphia Flyers

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