Dec 10, 2013; Buffalo, NY, USA; Ottawa Senators defenseman Patrick Wiercioch (46) against the Buffalo Sabres at First Niagara Center. Mandatory Credit: Timothy T. Ludwig-USA TODAY Sports

Staying or Going? - Patrick Wiercioch

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Patrick Wiercioch was once thought to be a future staple on the Ottawa Senators blue line, and now his future isn’t as clear as it once was. When drafted in the second round out of the University of Denver the Ottawa Senators thought they had a steal. Today Wiercioch is a 6’5”, 206 lbs defenceman who has great vision and puck moving skills with an offensive upside. Patrick Wiercioch showed flashes of this potential in the 2012-2013 season, where he found himself on the first power play unit and saw regular ice time with the absence of the injured Erik Karlsson.

Looking to build off of his successful 2012-2013 campaign, Patrick Wiercioch failed to start off on the right foot the past season. Wiercioch could never gain traction over the course of the season and was often found up in the press box. The dismissal of Sergei Gonchar seemed to affect the play of Patrick Wiercioch in the 2013-2014 season and the holes in his game were a lot more clear. The veteran Gonchar provided security on the back-end and it was clearly missing through out last years games.

Towards the end of the season Patrick Wiercioch got more playing time but never seemed to find his rhythm. At the end of the season Paul MacLean commented on the strides Patrick Wiercioch made and gave him a vote of confidence going into next season. I found this odd due to the fact that MacLean seemed to have little confidence in his abilities during the season. It will be interesting to see if Patrick Wiercioch stays in Ottawa and gets a serious look as a regular on the blue line.

The Verdict 

As it sits right now the Ottawa Senators have an overload of players on the backend and looks like one or more defencemen will be on the move. Patrick Wiercioch has found himself in the middle of the rumours. Wiercioch would be a candidate in a deal if the Ottawa Senators do not view him as a regular player who can play in every game. Paying a player an average of $2 million for the next 2 seasons to sit in the press box is something I believe the Ottawa Senators don’t feel comfortable with. The big defence man still has upside and can be a substantial piece in any trade.

The inability for Patrick Wiercioch to improve his physicality and mobility might have put him behind the 8 ball. In my opinion he still shows promise and could turn it around given more of an opportunity to play every day. The combination of size and offensive upside is something that is promising. If Wiercioch is put in a situation where he plays with a partner who has more speed, it will provide good insolation for him. The 23-year-old defenceman has only played 103 games in the NHL over three seasons and needs regular playing time to improve his play in the National Hockey League. If given the chance to play regularly and improves his mobility, Wiercioch will show he can make an impact at the NHL level.

If Patrick Wiercioch has to be used in a trade to get a return the Ottawa Senators want, I believe they are okay with parting ways. Though, I would suspect the Senators are not actively looking to move the defenceman and will give  Wiercioch a good chance to show he can be a regular this fall.

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