The hockey world was recently surprised to learn that former No. 2 draft pick Nolan Patrick has officially retired from professional hockey at the age of 25. Although his career was cut short by chronic migraines, it's important to remember the talent he showed promise and the impact he had on the teams he played for.
Born in Winnipeg, Manitoba, and raised in Brandon, Patrick's hockey journey began with the Brandon Wheat Kings of the Western Hockey League (WHL). He quickly established himself as a top prospect, known for his impressive goal-scoring ability and leadership qualities.
In the 2015-2016 WHL season, he scored an outstanding 41 goals and 61 assists in just 72 games, cementing his status as one of the top talents in the 2017 NHL Draft. The Philadelphia Flyers, hungry for a young star to build their team around, didn't hesitate to select Patrick with the second overall pick in the 2017 draft.
The pressure was immense, but Patrick accepted the challenge and made his NHL debut later that year. While his rookie season was hampered by injuries, Patrick showed flashes of his brilliance, scoring 13 goals and 17 assists in 73 games in his first season.
Over the next two seasons, he continued to develop his game. However, his health was still a concern and he missed a lot of games there.
A new chapter in Vegas
In 2021, Patrick was traded to the Vegas Golden Knights in a fresh start for both player and team.
He played a key role in their 2021 playoff run, but migraine issues continued to plague him. He played his last NHL game in March 2022. He was a talented player with the potential to become a star, but his health eventually forced him to retire from the game he loved.
Despite his early departure, his contributions to the Flyers and Golden Knights, as well as his shining light during his junior career, will not be forgotten. He recently joined The Power Play, a hockey coaching and mentoring program, as a video analytics specialist.
He himself said that he has a desire to stay involved in the lives of young players even though he is a young person and a young retiree.