Nolan Patrick, one of the Flyers' three remaining restricted free agents, accepted his one-year, $874,125 qualifying offer on Friday.
Patrick, the second overall pick in the 2017 NHL draft, missed the 2019-20 season because of a migraine disorder.
“Before camp, Nolan will come back into town and he’ll be able to see our medical people and skate with our group and then proceed into training camp," Flyers general manager Chuck Fletcher said last weekend. "Right now, he’s doing well. He continues to feel better. He was in [Brandon, Manitoba] a couple of weeks ago, spent two weeks there skating with a group run by Ryan White, he was scrimmaging. Out there every day working out and he continues to progress and feel good. You can’t predict the future, but certainly all signs are progressing the right way."
Last month, Fletcher said Patrick was living mostly a normal life.
"Until we get him back and get him into a contact situation, it’s probably going to be hard to know exactly when he’ll be ready to go, but he continues to improve," the GM said. "I’m counting on him playing at some point in '20-21."
Patrick's base salary on his previous three-year entry-level deal was $832,500, according to CapFriendly.com. With Patrick's type of RFA status and the 22-year-old not being eligible for arbitration, his side did not have much leverage. The 2020-21 campaign will be a prove-it season for Patrick, who will be a restricted free agent again next offseason. The Flyers will obviously want to see progress and gain a better grasp of what lies ahead for Patrick.
"You never know when the breakout’s going to be," Travis Konecny said last month. "I think we all know and we’ve seen Patty at his best, we know what he brings. At this point, it’s just a matter of getting 100 percent and getting ready to rock and roll. We all know what Patty’s capable of doing and he’s a terrific player. He fits in just with all the rest of the top picks that were picked."
Prior to the 2019-20 season being suspended because of the coronavirus outbreak, Patrick had been skating and practicing with the team but in non-contact fashion.
When the Flyers started their two-week training camp during mid-July in preparation for the NHL's return-to-play 24-team tournament, they decided it was best that Patrick shift his focus to 2020-21. Come Aug. 2, the Flyers' first game of the restart, it would have been over 480 days since Patrick had last played a game.
A return in 2020-21 would be huge for Patrick personally. He was visibly emotional and frustrated back in December as he continued searching for answers to his disorder. Back then, he called the recovery process “sh---y” and “pretty wavy.”
Patrick's return could also be massive for the Flyers' depth down the middle. The center is a skilled passer with 200-foot ability, traits that would follow nicely behind Sean Couturier and Kevin Hayes.
Patrick showed glimpses over his first two NHL seasons. Alain Vigneault did not get to coach him in 2019-20, the bench boss' first season in Philadelphia.
"Nolan Patrick, I’ve basically never seen," Vigneault said a month ago. "He’s been in a couple little drills here and there. ... I’m told that there’s a tremendous amount of potential in Patrick’s case."