The Golden Knights tended to their last bit of business before training camp opens Wednesday, signing restricted free agent forward Nolan Patrick to a two-year deal.
The deal carries an average annual value of $1.2 million.
Patrick, the No. 2 overall pick from the 2017 NHL Draft, was acquired by the Golden Knights on July 17 in a three-team trade involving the Philadelphia Flyers and Nashville Predators. The Flyers, the team that drafted Patrick, acquired defenseman Ryan Ellis from Nashville.
Vegas sent Cody Glass, the organization’s first ever draft pick at No. 6 overall from the same 2017 draft, to Nashville to clear way for Patrick.
Patrick will be an RFA with arbitration rights when the deal expires in 2023 and can enter unrestricted free agency in 2025, per PuckPedia.
The 23-year-old hasn’t materialized into the superstar-type player the Flyers hope he’d be when drafted one pick ahead of New Jersey’s Nico Hischier, but a fresh start may be what’s needed. Patrick has 70 points in 197 NHL games; 61 of them came his first two seasons with consecutive 13-goal years.
But in 2019, Patrick was diagnosed with a migraine disorder and missed the entire 2020 season due to it. He played 52 games in the shortened 2021 season but had only nine points.
Patrick is likely to compete for a spot on the Knights’ bottom six, and could be seen as someone relied upon to improve Vegas’ center depth. And if there’s anyone that knows Patrick well enough to make such a gamble for him, it’s general manager Kelly McCrimmon, who coached Patrick while he was a member of the Brandon Wheat Kings in the Western Hockey League.