The Ottawa Senators have had a number of new faces make appearances for the team this season, and Patrick Wiercioch is about to add his difficult-to-spell-and-pronounce name to the list.
Wiercioch, a 20 year-old British Columbia native, was drafted in the second round of the 2008 NHL Entry Draft. the 6'4", 192lb blueliner had a great college career, putting up 62 points in 75 games over two seasons despite being a defenseman.This gave both the organization and fans that Wiercioch could combine his offensive instincts with his height and become the type of all-around defenseman that fans have been yearning for quite some time.
He was signed to an entry-level contract at the end of last season and started this year with the Binghamton Senators. Though expectations were high, the thin Wiercioch struggled initially with the increased physicality of the AHL, but he took it all in stride:
"When you leave (school) and you step up to a higher level, and you play guys that are older and bigger and stronger than you, you’ve got to make an adjustment. Sometimes that adjustment isn’t one week or two weeks — it takes a few months of building to get used to it. The adjustment period was what it was and, hopefully, now it’s behind me and I can just look forward."
Wiercioch's season has gotten better as it's gone along, and hopefully this taste of the NHL will help motivate him to bulk up in the offseason. He'll have to have quite the training regime if he wants to compete with David Rundblad and Jared Cowen for a spot on the team's blueline.
Wiercioch is scheduled to play on a defensive pairing with Filip Kuba tonight, which I'm assuming is part of some cruel hazing ritual. Best of luck, kid.