Vancouver Canucks 2017 NHL Draft Profile: C Nolan Patrick

Jun 26, 2015; Sunrise, FL, USA; Brock Boeser walks to the stage after being selected as the number twenty-three overall pick to the Vancouver Canucks in the first round of the 2015 NHL Draft at BB&T Center. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports
Jun 26, 2015; Sunrise, FL, USA; Brock Boeser walks to the stage after being selected as the number twenty-three overall pick to the Vancouver Canucks in the first round of the 2015 NHL Draft at BB&T Center. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports /

The Vancouver Canucks are preparing for the 2017 NHL Entry Draft — and so are we.

Once again the Vancouver Canucks failed to secure a spot in the NHL playoffs. So, instead of competing for the Stanley Cup, Canucks GM Jim Benning and his staff will use the upcoming months to prepare next season’s roster. Now that the organisation is officially in a ‘transition period’, the 2017 NHL Entry Draft will be of utmost importance.

A four-game winning streak to start the 2016-17 season gave fans hope for the playoffs. But — blame the coach, the roster, injuries or anything else — unfortunately, the team was unable to play competitively for an entire season. With that, they are guaranteed another high draft pick this year.

Here at The Canuck Way, we will do our best to prepare you for the upcoming draft by profiling as many eligible players as we possibly can. Keep in mind that we are not saying these are players the Canucks are targeting. Instead, these are players that we think the Canucks could or should have interest in.

This year’s draft seems wide-open, with no real consensus in any of the seven rounds. So, it will certainly be interesting to see who will put on a Vancouver Canucks jersey come June.

First on our list is, of course, consensus first-overall pick (at least for now) centre Nolan Patrick of the WHL Brandon Wheat Kings!

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Name: Nolan Patrick

Position: Centre

Shoots: Right

Birthdate: 1998-09-19

Height, weight: 6’3”, 198 lbs

Team, league: Brandon Wheat Kings, WHL

Stats (from 







#1 by
#1 by ISS Hockey
#1 by Future Considerations
#1 by McKeen’s Hockey
#1 by NHL Central Scouting (NA Skaters)

Risk, Reward: 1.5/5, 5/5

NHL-potential: First-line centre

Draft Range: Top three

Scouting report

"A lethal combo of size, speed and skill; plays a power game and possesses one of the most well-rounded skill sets in the CHL…has great wheels and is able to surprise with his speed…hands and ability to protect the puck is high end…plays very responsibly with the puck, but also makes something happen each time he possesses it…uses his strength and reach to guard the puck, driving his way around the offensive zone…a heads-up, confident passer…has a sharp release on his wrist shot and is capable of beating a goaltender from anywhere in the offensive zone….his slap shot has high-level accuracy and velocity…a ruthless presence off the puck, simply overpowers his opponents…a great leader, commanding respect with his work ethic and consistent high level of play…willing to stand up for his teammates and bring justice as he sees fit…beats teams with his IQ and seems to always be in control of the play…a number-one NHL center in the making. (Future Considerations, November 2016)"


Nolan Patrick is an outstanding offensive player who can do it all. Listed at 6-foot-3 and roughly 200 pounds, he has prototypical NHL-centre size. That is an asset Patrick uses consistently to outmuscle and power through opponents. He is an extremely dangerous and effective power forward who is very hard to knock off the puck thanks to great puck-protection skills.

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But, unlike many other players who excel in juniors thanks to a large frame and a good scoring drive, Patrick stands out as an extremely smart player as well. His hockey I.Q. is elite, and Patrick is the type of player who makes those around him better. He gets a huge amount of time with the puck every game, not only because he fights for it, but because he is always in the right place at the right time.

When he has the puck, Patrick knows what to do with it. He has excellent hands, plays accurate passes and has a heavy, accurate shot. There isn’t much Patrick can’t do with the puck on his stick.  Every time he gets possession, he makes something happen.


Going into the year, many scouts would have listed just about every hockey skill under the headline “strengths” for Patrick. But things have changed.

In the scouting report above, Future Considerations still noted Patrick “has great wheels and is able to surprise with his speed.” However, many scouts call Patrick’s skating his biggest weakness now, at least when it comes to speed.

Another knock on him, though this is not talent-related, is Patrick’s injury history. He missed almost 20 games in the 2014-15 season and was limited to 33 regular-season contests this year. The worst part: he missed that time rehabbing from sports hernia surgery — which is worrying at this young age.

Final Thoughts

Patrick went into the year as the clear-cut, unrivalled No. 1 prospect for the 2017 draft. But as the season progressed, it seemed like some scouts liked him less and less. One of the major points scouts look out for is how players improve throughout a season; and Patrick’s production fell from 1.42 last season to 1.39 in 2016-17. Plus, the surgery and injury worries have scouts looking at him carefully, to say the least.

All that said, Patrick still has No. 1 centre potential, no matter what people tell you. His hockey sense and puck skills are elite, and he has the perfect NHL frame. Patrick is no Connor McDavid or Auston Matthews, but that doesn’t mean he can’t become a Jonathan Toews-type player in the NHL one day.

Next: 2017 Draft Profile Overview

Almost every prospect has question marks, which can cause someone like Claude Giroux to fall to 22nd overall. Patrick may not be a sure-fire No. 1 centre at the NHL level, and perhaps some NHL scouts have him outside of the top two on their lists. But if the Canucks have a chance to pick Patrick, they really can’t go wrong with him.