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Patrick says he expects to play with Flyers this season

Center who's been out since training camp because of migraine disorder doesn't have return date

by Adam Kimelman @NHLAdamK / Deputy Managing Editor

PHILADELPHIA -- Nolan Patrick said he expects to play for the Philadelphia Flyers this season but isn't sure when that could be.

The 21-year-old forward has been out since training camp because of a migraine disorder.

"It's obviously frustrating when it's not an injury where you're going to be back in six weeks," Patrick said Tuesday. "There's no timeline to it. Obviously, I'm hoping to get back soon, and I believe I'll play this year. That's something I'm trying to stick with."

Patrick has skated periodically since training camp but his time on the ice Tuesday ahead of the Flyers' game against the Toronto Maple Leafs (7 p.m. ET; ESPN+, TVAS, NBCSP, TSN4, NHL.TV) marked the fifth time in the past six days he's done so.

He's also been working out in the gym daily, but said he's learning how hard he can push himself in his workouts and when he must slow down.

"Obviously you've got to have a baseline of how much you can do, and if I feel good doing that for a week then I elevate it a little more," Patrick said. "There's obviously a plan in place but it's basically just off how I feel.

"Obviously, the strength coaches and the training staff try to put together a program for me, but like I said before, at the end of the day it's how I'm feeling that day. If I'm not feeling great, we'll just pump the brakes a little bit. It's just trying to put together more good days in a row than bad."

Video: PHI@NYI: Patrick slams home Giroux's feed

Patrick said his treatment plan has involved rest, medication and lifestyle changes he wouldn't specify.

"I'm not going to get into too much detail but there's obviously a lot of things that I've had to change," he said. "Obviously it's an annoying process."

He said his teammates have helped in that process, notably veteran forward Chris Stewart, who was on the ice with Patrick on Tuesday.

"My teammates have been amazing through it," Patrick said. "Everyone's super supportive. It's a tough thing to go through, you're kind of by yourself for a lot of it. My teammates are doing a great job make me feel part of the team."

Flyers coach Alain Vigneault has kept his focus on the healthy players, but said he's paid a bit more attention to Patrick's status recently.

"He is progressing, he is doing more off-ice workouts and he is skating a little bit more on his own," Vigneault said. "Hopefully that's a positive sign. That's all I can really tell you. I don't know much more than that."

Patrick, the No. 2 pick in the 2017 NHL Draft, had 31 points (13 goals, 18 assists) in 72 games last season, and has 61 points (26 goals, 35 assists) in 145 games in two seasons. 

After the acquisition of Kevin Hayes in June, it was expected that Patrick would start the season as the third-line center, behind Sean Couturier and Hayes. Instead he's working out on his own, trying to stay positive and hoping he continues to string together good days.

"Just taking it day at a time, hopefully get back soon," he said. "But there's no real timeline so it's tough to say."

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