25-Year-Old Defenseman – Ottawa Senators
Patrick Wiercioch Contract Information:
Wiercioch and the Senators reached a three-year deal in July of 2013.
Wiercioch (upper body) was placed on injured reserve Tuesday, but was on the ice for the team's optional skate Wednesday, Don Brennan of the Ottawa Sun reports.
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Patrick Wiercioch: Past News Updates ( ▲ View most recent update )
RotoWire's Preseason Outlooks
The Senators have shown they are committed to giving Wiercioch a chance to make a name for himself at the NHL level, and the 23-year-old has demonstrated a willingness to jump in offensively in his first two seasons with the team. He picked up four goals and 19 assists last year in 53 games while battling through a couple of injuries. Though Wiercioch has never been overly productive throughout his career, he provides more of a consistent all-around presence on the back end for the Sens. Even if he's an everyday player in 2014-15, it's unlikely that he'll transform into an elite offensive player, though he does have the potential to become highly useful.
Wiercioch had a solid year in 2013, posting five goals and 14 assists in 42 games with the Senators. He's just 22 years old, and should be a staple on the Ottawa blue line for years to come. He could be in line for a big year in 2013-14, but it's not safe to assume he'll have a huge impact. He's a risky pick at this point, but he has a lot of upside.
Wiercioch's first professional season was quite the learning experience for the tall, lanky defenseman. Playing in 67 games for Ottawa's AHL affiliate in Binghamton, his shortcomings on the physical side of the game were often apparent and he was a healthy scratch on several occassions. That being said, the 6'4", 190 pound blueliner possesses above-average offensive instincts to go along with a strong, fluid skating technique, allowing him to carry the puck up the ice and into the offensive zone with relative ease. He saw eight games of action in 2010-11 with Ottawa and didn't look out of place, adding two assists and playing sound positional defense. With a game that's more suited to the NHL level with its focus on structure and detail, Wiercioch will still need to develop a more physical side to his game in the AHL for 2011-12. He's committed to adding more muscle to his 190 pound frame this off-season and could surprise some people when training camp rolls around in September. Wiercioch is still a work-in-progress, but could crack Ottawa's lineup in 2012-13 as an all-around defenseman.
The 42nd pick overall in 2008's NHL entry draft, Wiercoch had a breakout freshman season playing for Denver. He led all rookie defensemen in scoring with 12 goals and 23 assists. Currently listed at 6-4 and 195 pounds, he'll need to add some more mass to his lanky frame. He's a smooth skater and excellent passer with a hard and accurate shot. Wiercoch might also have a shot at making Canada's U-20 world junior team where he could skate with fellow Sens prospect Jared Cowen. Wiercoch is likely one or two more years from playing in the big leagues and will be back at Denver for his sophomore year for 2009-10.
Ottawa's second round pick (#42 overall) in the 2008 NHL Entry Draft will likely spend the 2008-09 season playing for the University of Wisconsin Badgers. Wiercioch has good offensive upside and a brain for hockey. If all goes well for the young defenseman, he could be in the AHL in a few years.