Brandon center Nolan Patrick, No. 1 on NHL Central Scouting's final ranking of North American skaters, said he was as shocked as everyone else to see the big winners unveiled at the NHL Draft Lottery on Saturday.
The New Jersey Devils won the No. 1 pick despite having an 8.5 percent chance of winning the lottery. The Philadelphia Flyers vaulted 11 spots to No. 2, and the Dallas Stars moved eight spots up to No. 3.
"I think it's pretty exciting to see who's picking where now and it should be fun come draft day," Patrick told Sirius XM Hockey Radio on Monday.
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The 2017 NHL Draft will be held at United Center in Chicago on June 23-24.
Patrick (6-foot-2, 198 pounds) was asked if he envisions himself wearing the jersey of any of the top two teams on the board.
"I thought about it a bit and I've got buddies who play for the Devils and Flyers in [New Jersey forward] John Quenneville and [Philadelphia defenseman] Ivan Provorov," Patrick said. "I've exchanged text messages with them and we all agree it would be fun to get back together.
"Honestly, I'd be honored to go anywhere."
Patrick played two seasons with Quenneville and Provorov in Brandon of the Western Hockey League. The three played a big part in helping the Wheat Kings win the WHL championship last season. Quenneville and Patrick each served as alternate captains during the championship season.
Patrick also answered questions regarding his health.
Patrick's availability for the start of this season was in question after he had surgery in mid-July to repair a sports hernia. He played five games and sustained an upper-body injury that kept him out until Jan. 13. He finished the season with 46 points (20 goals, 26 assists) and a 1.39 points-per-game average in 33 games. He missed all four WHL playoff games because of a lower-body injury.
He has 205 points (92 goals, 113 assists) in 163 career WHL games.
"I'm 100 percent healthy," Patrick said. "I think for me, not many people know what happened with my injuries so it was kind of staying positive and getting through it. I'm confident I can play a full season without getting injured; I'm confident in my abilities."
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Patrick was fifth in the WHL with 102 points (41 goals, 61 assists) in 72 regular-season games last season. He tied for the WHL scoring lead with 30 points (13 goals, 17 assists) in 21 WHL playoff games and was named the most valuable player of the playoffs while helping Brandon win the championship. He played in 107 total games in 2015-16, counting WHL regular season and playoffs and international competition for Canada.
He is the son of former NHL forward Steve Patrick and nephew of former NHL defenseman James Patrick. Each has played a big role in his development. Patrick believes that just because his father and uncle were chosen in the first round of the NHL Draft doesn't mean he will get the nod as the No. 1 choice.
"They've helped me but I think at the end of the day the NHL team is going to take who they like more and who will fit with their organization the best," he said. "My name helps me a bit but I don't know if that will help me too much on draft day."
Steve was selected with the No. 20 pick by the Buffalo Sabres in 1980, and James went No. 9 to the New York Rangers in 1981.
"I've been thinking about the draft and know it will be an exciting day for my family and friends," Patrick said. "It's the day you dream about as a kid. But right now I'm concentrating on getting stronger and preparing for the NHL Scouting Combine (May 29-June 5)."