Junior team: Brandon (WHL)
2016-17 stats: 33 games, 20 goals, 26 assists, 46 points
Size: 6-foot-2, 198 pounds
Born: Winnipeg, Manitoba
Central Scouting rank: No. 1 (North America)
What to know: Watching teenagers after teenager do fitness testing and interviews at the NHL Scouting Combine, scouts and reporters were reminded that most of the prospects are still kids. Then Patrick walked to the workout flow and podium. With defined muscles and a mature voice and demeanor, he stood out.
He stands out on the ice, too, which is why he’ll be drafted first or second. Nolan has excelled at the junior level since Day One. He’s recorded 92 goals and 205 points in 163 games with Brandon, and he has another 21 goals and 45 points in 49 playoff games. It’s why a double sports hernia that limited him to 33 games this season hasn’t hurt his draft status.
With a two-way game and good hockey sense, flaws are few. He’s big, can skate and is competitive. Patrick has two Buffalo connections as the Sabres drafted his father Steve in the first round in 1980 and employed his uncle James as a player and coach.
He said it: “Buffalo was my favorite team growing up. I watched them a lot. It was mostly my favorite team just because he was coaching there, so I was always kind of supporting where he was. He said he loved playing here and loved coaching here, so he’s got nothing but good things to say about Buffalo.” – Patrick, referring to his uncle.
The Buffalo News is profiling prospects leading up to the NHL Draft, which will be held Thursday and Friday in Chicago.