In the 2021-22 Player Review series, we will evaluate the 2021-22 performances of each key member of the Golden Knights. Players were evaluated based on overall performance in the regular season with regard to pre-season expectations and how that player performed in his particular role.
When the Vegas Golden Knights acquired Nolan Patrick from the Nashville Predators (but really the Philadelphia Flyers) last season, the hope was that he’d be able to find his footing in the NHL and live up to his billing as a former No. 2 overall draft selection. To do that, Patrick needed to not only begin producing points at a consistent rate, but even more importantly, stay healthy. Unfortunately, he was unable to accomplish either of those tasks as the injury bug bit him yet again.
Season in review
Patrick began the season on somewhat of a high note. He appeared in each of the Golden Knights’ first four games, logging a goal and 10 shots. However, he missed the next two months with an upper-body injury. After briefly returning to the lineup, he entered COVID-19 protocols, but only missed one game due to the virus.
March was when things got scary. In a February 16 tilt against the Colorado Avalanche, Patrick, who has a long history of head injuries and migraine issues, took a hit up high from Nathan MacKinnon that caused him to miss nearly a month of action. He returned to the lineup in mid-March, but only appeared in seven more games before ultimately missing the remainder of the season with an undisclosed injury.
In total, Patrick played in 25 games for the Golden Knights, logging seven total points (two goals and five assists).
It’s hard to evaluate Patrick’s season given his continued struggles with injuries. When healthy, he showed flashes of potential at times. But until he can stay in the lineup for sustained stretches, it’s impossible to guess where he stands with the Golden Knights.
Patrick has one year remaining on his contract with a cap hit of $1.2 million. If the Golden Knights believe he can return to full health in time for the 2022-23 campaign, it may be worth keeping him around for another year. But for a team frantically looking to clear cap space, it also wouldn’t be totally shocking for the Knights to unload Patrick’s contract in order to create some wiggle room.
This is going to be the most crucial offseason of Patrick’s career, and as great as it would be to see him return to action, the priority should be Patrick’s long-term well-being.
Knights On Ice grade: Incomplete