Skip to Content

Why Nolan Patrick’s Name Might Not Grace the Stanley Cup

Heorhii Rysak

Nolan Patrick, the former Philadelphia Flyers forward, may not see his name engraved on the iconic Stanley Cup, despite technically winning it with the Vegas Golden Knights.

On Tuesday night, the Vegas Golden Knights achieved a historic victory, capturing the Stanley Cup after only six years since the team’s establishment. As is customary, the names of the players who contributed significantly to this triumph will be inscribed on the revered trophy.

Regrettably, Nolan Patrick, who once played for the Flyers and was later acquired by the Golden Knights, might not have his name included among the Cup winners.

During the 2022-23 season, Patrick was unable to participate in any games due to an ongoing upper-body injury, which has remained a source of concern. This is not the first time he has encountered such issues. In 2019, he was diagnosed with a migraine disorder that has plagued him throughout his career. Consequently, he has been limited to a mere 77 games over the span of four seasons. In the 2019-20 season, he was sidelined entirely due to the disorder, and even in the 2020-21 season, his performance suffered, resulting in only four goals and a total of nine points across 52 games.

Therefore, despite being a part of the Golden Knights roster when they clinched the Stanley Cup, it appears unlikely that Nolan Patrick will have his name immortalized on the prestigious trophy.

Nolan Patrick

In 2021, Nolan Patrick, along with Phil Myers, was traded by the Philadelphia Flyers to the Nashville Predators in exchange for defenseman Ryan Ellis. Shortly after, the Predators further traded Patrick to the Vegas Golden Knights, where he signed a two-year contract worth $2.4 million just before the commencement of the 2021-22 season.

Since joining the Golden Knights, Patrick has only participated in 25 games. However, he remains under contract with the team. The question arises: why wouldn’t his name be included on the Stanley Cup?

The matter is somewhat intricate.

When a team emerges as the winner of the Stanley Cup, they are permitted to have 52 names engraved on the side of the trophy. While the majority of these names belong to players, other significant individuals associated with the team, such as front office personnel (general manager, president of hockey operations, etc.) and coaching staff (head coach and assistant coaches), are also counted within the total of 52 names.

To have their name inscribed on the Stanley Cup, players need to meet specific criteria. For instance, players who have appeared in at least 41 out of the winning team’s 82 regular-season games or have participated in at least one postseason game are automatically eligible to be included on the Cup. However, there are exceptions for backup goalies, as they often do not meet the requirement of playing in at least half of the regular-season games or participating in the postseason at all.

Considering Nolan Patrick’s limited game appearances since joining the Golden Knights, it remains uncertain whether he meets the criteria to have his name engraved on the Stanley Cup.

Unfortunately, Nolan Patrick does not fulfill the aforementioned criteria, which means there is no guarantee his name will be included on the Stanley Cup.

Although there have been instances where injured players have been included in the Cup, it is an exceedingly rare occurrence. Therefore, it wouldn’t be surprising if Patrick’s name is ultimately left off.

It’s worth noting that Patrick is set to become a restricted free agent during the upcoming summer.

Allowing Players with Extenuating Circumstances on the Stanley Cup

The NHL has established specific criteria for a player’s name to be included in the Stanley Cup. According to these guidelines, automatic inclusion requires a player to have participated in at least half of the regular-season games, which amounts to 41 games, or to have played at least one game in the Stanley Cup Final.

However, if a player misses a significant portion of the regular season due to injury, there is still a chance for their name to be included on the Cup. In 1994, the NHL introduced a provision that allows teams to petition the commissioner for permission to include players’ names on the Cup in cases where exceptional circumstances prevented them from playing.

Instances of successful petitions have occurred in the past. For example, during the 2015-16 season, Pascal Dupuis of the Pittsburgh Penguins retired due to health issues after participating in only 18 games. The Penguins submitted a petition, which was granted, and Dupuis’ name was included on the Cup. It was reported that Dupuis remained involved with the team in a non-playing capacity, providing leadership and support behind the scenes.

Stanley Cup

Therefore, while meeting the established criteria is the typical pathway for inclusion in the Stanley Cup, there is a possibility for exceptions to be made through petitioning in situations involving extenuating circumstances.

Another instance highlighting the criteria for inclusion in the Stanley Cup is Jakub Jerabek in 2018. The Washington Capitals acquired Jerabek near the trade deadline, and he played 11 regular-season games along with the first two games of the opening playoff round. Despite his contributions, Jerabek’s name was not engraved on the Cup.

Nolan Patrick’s situation differs as he did not participate in any games during the current season. This absence would typically result in automatic disqualification, but there is a possibility for the Golden Knights to submit a petition on his behalf. The Golden Knights have moved one step closer to winning the Cup following their 5-2 victory in Game 1 last night.

However, whether Patrick would agree to such a waiver is a separate matter that remains uncertain.