Photo Credit: Matthew Henderson

Canucks Army Roundtable: Nico versus Nolan

I’m filling in for the venerable Matthew Henderson today, bringing you a very special NHL Entry Draft edition of the Canucks Army roundtable. We are now exactly one week away from the opening day of the draft, and the mammoth undertaking that is our Top 100 Prospect Profiles list is nearly complete. After Elias Pettersson, Gabriel Vilardi, and Cody Glass came in at 5th, 4th, and 3rd respectively yesterday, we are down to just two prospects, and I’m pretty sure you know who they are.

The Nico Hischier versus Nolan Patrick debate has nearly reached its pinnacle. The mainstream rankings are now roughly split between the two centres. Before we reveal the order that we settled on on our draft list, we’re going to hear from our writers on who they think should go first overall next Friday, and why.

As an FYI, not all the people who contributed answers here voting during our prospect rankings, so whoever gets more recommendations here isn’t necessarily going to be the player we have at first on our list. You’ll have to wait until this afternoon to find out who that will be. Let’s get into it.


I would go Hischier at 1. Haven’t seen a whole lot but everything that is out there for him to be judged on, just seems like a slam dunk. Patrick may indeed be deserving of the top spot but injuries always scare me and honestly, you wanted my opinion. The real question is why did the Canucks not expose Sutter?

Hischier: 1 | Patrick: 0

Tyler Horsfall

Hischier. Both players are extremely talented and are going to be good for an extended period of time. However, I think Hischier’s got more of an offensive upside and a better overall skater. The main deciding facet for me is that last year Hischier looked like he fit in in the Swiss Men’s league in the limited games he saw. You can’t go wrong with either player, that’s for sure.

Hischier: 2 | Patrick: 0

J.D. Burke

I’ve been consistently on the Nolan Patrick side of this debate, until just recently. I’m now on board with Hischier at first overall. I think they’re comparable players in terms of overall quality, but I prefer Hischier’s offensive skill set to Patrick’s. I just see Hischier as having the higher ceiling of the two and more dynamism to his game. Factor in Patrick’s injury history, and I just couldn’t justify having him ahead of Hischier. Really, though, there’s a case for either player.

Hischier: 3 | Patrick: 0

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Taylor Perry

Ever since the World Juniors, I’ve become a Nico Hischier supporter. That’s not a knock on Nolan Patrick – who is still an excellent prospect – but Hischier’s PPG (albeit in a weaker junior league, but on a worse team than Brandon) gives him the edge in my view. Patrick put up 1.39 PPG with a .500 Wheat Kings team this season, while Hischier put up 1.51 with an awful Mooseheads side. His seven points in five games at the World Juniors, including four goals, also helps his cause – despite the small sample size. Both are great players, but I give Hischier the slight edge.

Hischier: 4 | Patrick: 0

Jackson McDonald

Nolan Patrick. I’m worried that I’m perhaps guilty of an anchoring bias, but he’s been on the radar as the presumptive first overall pick for almost three years. There’s such a large sample of games we have to look at that suggest he’s a special player. Hischier may be a flashier player, but Patrick has everything, speed, size, strength, power. He can and will play in every situation for the team that drafts him and I can say with confidence that he’s a future first-line centre. I’m not sure I’m as confident when it comes to Hischier.

Please don’t read too much into Patrick’s “disappointing” season. He’s out grown the WHL. I wouldn’t be surprised to see him on an NHL roster this fall.

Everybody f*#&ing recency biasing all over the roundtable smh.

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Hischier: 4 | Patrick: 1

Ryan Biech

It’s Nolan Patrick.

I think Hischier is and will be a very good player but Patrick is the more complete player who is going to do everything to help his team win. One of the reasons why this conversation happens is because Hischier plays a faster and more exciting game which is easy to fall in love with, while Patrick just continues to do things extremely well. If Patrick hadn’t been injured, this conversation likely would have less validity.

With that being said, Hischier may very well be the first player off the board at the draft on June 23rd. But I do think that Patrick should be the first pick.

Hischier: 4 | Patrick: 2

Jeff Veillette

I feel like we go through this every year. A consensus #1 pick forms across every media outlet and scouting service a year or two before the draft, and right around the World Juniors, a new challenger emerges. They usually pretty good themselves (you’d have to be if you’re going to be a top pick in this day and age), but it’s pushed to be anybody’s race. Sometimes, it might even stretch to the top three or four picks, for an added element of fun.

After all, it’s good for ratings, page views, and all of that fun stuff. Controversy sells; especially if there’s some justification. But come June, when that first team reaches the podium, there’s no doubt in their mind as the speak the name of the guy we’ve all been waiting for. Rarely do they regret it, either; 1st overall has been a relative sace spot in the draft for much of the past decade and change.

Typically, if your long-term hyped player falls off, they fall off hard, fast, and aren’t even in the discussion. That’s not the case with Nolan Patrick; the hype isn’t quite as loud as it was a year ago, thanks to a year filled with injuries, but we know him to be a complete player with a strong body of work. No disrespect to Nico Hischier; but he’s definitely the shiny new toy of the two with less of a history to work with. I know this sounds a lot like “go with the safe pick”, but there’s a difference between drafting a projected third liner and picking the slightly less flashy elite forward.

Side with history. Pick Nolan.

Hischier: 4 | Patrick: 3

Jeremy Davis

I fully understand the Hischier hype train, as I’ve been on it all year, gorging myself on his international performances and binge watching Halifax Mooseheads hockey. Hischier end a higher point per game rate, and a better SEAL adjusted point rate than Patrick did – though Patrick had to struggle through a few injuries over the course of the season.

The fact that Nolan Patrick was declared fully healthy at the NHL Combine a couple of weekends ago will hopefully ease the minds of some who were allowing his injury-riddled season to factor into their decision on who was the best available prospect. For me, that remains Nolan Patrick. Sure, he doesn’t have as much flash as Hischier, but that sure didn’t stop him from being productive in major-junior. His draft season had his ups and downs, but that certainly doesn’t erase what he did in his draft-minus-one season: that would be scoring 40 goals, 100 points, leading the WHL in playoff scoring as a 17-year old, winning the WHL Playoffs MVP, and leading his team to a Memorial Cup berth. For all the talk about where he would have gone in the 2016, if Columbus was desperate enough for a centre that they’d take Pierre-Luc Dubois over Jesse Puljujarvi, I have a hard time believing that Patrick wouldn’t have gone third overall last year – and he’d be a great pick.

And he’ll be a great pick at first overall this year. Hischier is going to be a great player, they both are. But I believe that Patrick has the tools and the game to make an impact in the NHL sooner, and perhaps for longer.

Hischier: 4 | Patrick: 4

Well look at that, a 4-4 tie, I hope that settles things. The final two profiles will be coming out in the next several hours. In the meantime, let’s get a healthy, friendly debate going in the comment section. Who do you think is the best prospect in this draft?