This is the second profile on prospects expected to play for the Binghamton Senators.
Patrick Wiercioch, D, Contract: 0.875/13 (RFA)
2-42 2008 (Murray), 6’4, Shoots L, YOB 1990, Maple Ridge, BC
2008-09 NCAA 36-12-23-35 26pim
2009-10 NCAA 39-6-21-27 34pim
2010-11 AHL 67-4-14-18 25pim (1 fight)
Patrick Wiercioch came into the 2008 draft ranked 77th in North American by Central Scouting (http://www.nhlentrydraft2008.com/featuredPlayersDetails.aspx?type=np&playerID=1077). He had just finished winning the Anderson Cup in the USHL with Omaha. A lanky player, prior to the draft he talked about bulking up (http://mckeenshockey.rivals.com/content.asp?CID=785840), a familiar theme that’s followed him throughout his career thus far.
Wiercioch attended the University of Denver and had a fantastic freshman year, being named to the All-WCHA Second Team and All-WCHA Rookie Team, ranking second in NCAA defenseman scoring and third in NCAA rookie scoring. He was given the Red Baron WCHA Final Five All-Tournament Team honours, named to the All-College Hockey News Rookie Team and Inside College Hockey Freshman All-America Team and was co-recipient of the Barry Sharp Memorial Award for Denver’s top freshman. It’s little wonder that after the season he thought about turning pro (Tim Murray comments about the season are here www.youtube.com/ watch?v=FyebvqvYjQo).
Wiercioch returned to Denver for one more season, this one disrupted by injury. Despite reduced production he was named to the Reebok First-Team West All-American, the All-USCHO Second Team, the Inside College Hockey Third-Team All-American and All-WCHA First Team. He led Denver defensemen in points and was third in overall WCHA defenseman scoring; he was also named to the All-WCHA Academic Team and earned WCHA Scholar-Athlete status. Finally, he was considered for Canada’s WJC, but as he was still recovering from injury he had no real chance to make the roster. All of this made signing him a no-brainer going into the 2010-11 season (here he is interviewed during the 2010 development camp, video.senators.nhl.com/videocenter/console?id=73564).
Wiercioch was one of the last cuts at camp, but was sent down to Binghamton. As the second youngest rookie on the team (behind Robin Lehner) his season was very up and down. He was scratched six times between October and January, before hitting his stride at the end of the season (13 of his 18 points were scored from February onward) and being called up to Ottawa where he played well in 8 games. He suited up for most of Binghamton’s Calder Cup run (producing 1 assist), missing 5 due to injury and then finding himself scratched for another 3 in favour of Mark Borowiecki in the Cup final. Murray had this to say about him mid-season, “Patrick is playing, but is not a priority player in Binghamton right now. We wish he’d play a little more. He probably will be a better NHL player than AHL player, because of his style and body build right now. A year from now, however, I think if Patrick is 10 pounds heavier and a little stronger, which I believe he will get over the summer, he will be a real contender for a spot here next year” (http://www.ottawasun.com/sports/hockey/2011/01/25/17024581.html).
At season’s end one of the most obvious needs for Wiercioch was to bulk up (www.ottawasun.com/2011/07/02/sens-wiercioch-looking-to-beef-up), saying “The knock against me was that I was too light and I wasn’t able to handle myself. If I can’t handle myself at that weight, then I’m going to have to think about another profession.” The Senators were happy with his progress (see the linked article) and consistently include him in discussions about the roster in the fall. Wiercioch himself believes he has a shot at the roster (http://senators.nhl.com/club/news.htm?id=569949), although I think there’s no doubt he’ll be sent to Binghamton for another year of development. Should he spend the full year in the AHL and stay healthy, I expect his production to increase significantly (in the 30-35 point range).
Interviewed prior to playing his second NHL game: video.senators.nhl.com/ videocenter/console?id=104527
An interview with Wierioch early last season: video.senators.nhl.com/ videocenter/console?id=84473)
His dated Hockey Futures profile: www.hockeysfuture.com/prospects/patrick_wiercioch
Fights Mike Duco: http://www.hockeyfights.com/fights/100126
Next up is Eric Gryba.
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