If selected, Nolan Patrick would gladly serve with the Colorado Avalanche. With the Avs having the best chance at the No. 1 overall pick in June's NHL draft, this might very well happen.
"I would definitely be excited if I had the chance to go to Colorado," Patrick, the top-ranked North American skater by NHL Central Scouting heading into the draft, told BSNDenver.
The Avs have an 18-percent chance of getting the top pick June 23 in the first round, which might not seem like a lot. But it's still the highest chance of any of the 31 teams, and the Avs can pick no worse than fourth in the draft, to be held at the United Center in Chicago.
Patrick, 19, is a 6-foot-3, 200-pound center who finished his junior career with the Brandon Wheat Kings of the Western Hockey League. His final season was marred by injuries. He played 33 games, posting 46 points (20 goals). He played 72 games the season before, with 102 points.
His father, Steve, played 250 NHL games, finishing his career in 1985-86 with the Quebec Nordiques - the franchise that moved to Denver in 1995.
"He always spoke of how much he loved playing in Quebec, even though it wasn't very long. It would be kind of neat to play for the same (franchise) that he did, but it's out of my control obviously," Patrick said. "But I do know one guy there already, Tyson Jost. He's a great player and awesome guy, so it would be fun to play with him."
Patrick said he is "100 percent" healthy after his injury-plagued final season for the Wheaties, and eager to prove why he should go No. 1 overall. Though he and the rest of this draft class has been rated less highly than many recent ones, he is still projected to be a top-six forward with all-star potential.
The Avs are likely to be active in the trade market when the draft happens, so it's not a guarantee they will hold on to their top pick - especially if they don't win the draft lottery, to be held April 29. If they do get the No. 1 pick, however, they are likely to hang on to it, and Patrick remains the odds-on favorite to be selected, even though the Avs are probably deeper at center than any other position.
If the Avs win the lottery and take Patrick, they almost surely will trade veteran Matt Duchene. Even if they don't take Patrick, Duchene will probably still be dealt for help on defense.