VOORHEES, N.J. -- After the first day of Philadelphia Flyers rookie camp, center Nolan Patrick said he feels better than he did two years ago.
That's saying something, considering in 2015-16 playing with Brandon of the Western Hockey League, Patrick was fifth in the league with 102 points (41 goals, 61 assists) in 71 games and was named most valuable player of the WHL playoffs.
"I feel more explosive, my skating feels better, I feel stronger," he said after his first on-ice session at Flyers Skate Zone.
Patrick, the No. 2 pick of the 2017 NHL Draft, had surgery June 13 to repair a sports hernia on his left side that affected him last season. It was missed when he had a similar procedure on his right side following the 2016 WHL playoffs.
Patrick played in 33 games in 2016-17 (20 goals, 26 assists) but said he felt "probably 60 percent when I first started playing, maybe I got up to 70, 75 [percent] tops."
He said it was an entirely different feeling when he first got on the ice after his second surgery.
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"When I had my first surgery, I felt the pain the first skate back," Patrick said. "My first skate back here when I skated after development camp [in July] I had no pain at all. Just conditioning and getting my feet back under me. It was done right the second time, and I'm happy to be done with that. It's quite a while with that injury but happy to put it behind me now."
After development camp, Patrick spent most of the summer at home in Winnipeg and skated three times a week with a group of NHL players that included Chicago Blackhawks captain and fellow Winnipeg native Jonathan Toews.
"He's a really intelligent guy," Patrick said. "One of the best guys I've ever met. We'd be here all day if I listed all the things he's taught me. He's an extremely smart guy, knows a lot about different kinds of training and nutrition. … Was an unbelievable experience training with him and looking forward to doing it again next summer."
Patrick also worked out off the ice, with a focus on strengthening his core and his stamina.
"My off-ice was mostly a lot of mobility stuff, that was the main goal for me," he said. "Get my hips back where they need to be and get my conditioning up. That was the two things I really focused on."
Patrick was a full participant in all drills Monday, including full-ice sprints and short-ice battle drills. He said there was no hesitation in pushing himself in any aspect.
"I'm not holding back at all right now," he said. "I'm 100 percent. There's no limitations for me going into battles or anything like that. I'm not nervous going in there."
Flyers coach Dave Hakstol was left with a favorable impression.
"First time on the ice, thought he had a good day," Hakstol said. "Looked strong. Hard day out there. I think overall like most of the young guys out there he worked pretty hard. Conditioning seems to be pretty good."
Patrick said his focus going through rookie camp and into training camp, which starts Friday, is to do what he can to start the season in the NHL.
"That's my goal coming in," he said. "I'm going to compete as hard as I can and do everything I can to earn a spot. The main thing for me is competing every day and working as hard as I can."
The next step in that process will come when he plays in a rookie game against the New York Islanders at Wells Fargo Center on Wednesday. It will be his first game of any kind since March 17.
"I'm really excited," he said. "Haven't played a game in a while. Looking forward to that. Being in the rink with the Flyers gear on is really exciting. I'm looking forward to it."