Top 25 Under 25, no. 8: Patrick Wiercioch
It has been a roller coaster ride for Patrick Wiercioch but he's finally made it to the show and looks good. He checks in at number eight on our countdown.
What a weird ride of public opinion that it has been for Patrick Wiercioch since he was drafted by the Ottawa Senators in 2008. Because of course that was his first problem. He of course was drafted in the same draft as some other offensive d-man... what is his name... small fellow... Brennan said he'd be a bust..... ah yes! Erik Karlsson. That guy.
#46 / Defenseman / Ottawa Senators
Sep 12, 1990
|2012 - Patrick Wiercioch||8||0||4||4||2||4||0||0||0||8|
At the time he was drafted, Wiercioch had played in the USHL and the BCHL with the Burnaby Express. Spoiler alert, that second team becomes important. He then went on to play for the University of Denver after being drafted, where he had an incredible rookie season, putting up nearly a point per game to go along with 12 goals. Not bad for a freshman! His second year at Denver never seemed to come around and was certainly a sophomore slump.
That is when Patty made what I consider to be the silliest choice of his professional life. He left college after only 2 years. He saw an opening on a very weak Sens team and thought he was ready for the pros.
After struggling in his first couple seasons in the AHL, many Sens fans had written him off. His amazing rookie season at Denver was a fading memory. He had an extremely serious throat injury playing at the AHL level and battled hard to come back from it, but wasn't wowing anyone with his play. Heck, he was 20th when we did this list just last spring! But then, something magic happened:
That's right. Patty's best hockey friend and former teammate in Burnaby got traded to the NHL Sens and finished out the season. At the end of the year, Kyle signed an extension and decided to stay in Ottawa to train with the team's strength and conditioning coach, and Patrick joined him. What a difference it has made. Consider this blurb about Wiercioch from Cory Pronman (emphasis added):
Wiercioch has a nice blend of size and skill. He’s a good all-round defenseman who can play in many different situations. A mobile puck moving defenseman, he has very good hands but needs to improve his skating. Additional size and strength will need to be added to become more effective against higher competition. Has the smarts and know how to be effective.
The extra size and strength is helping Patrick make a big impression. He has looked very comfortable and very good on the Senators blueline this season and is making his case to stick around with the club and potentially fill Sergei Gonchar's role as the puck mover on the second pairing.
Goes to show sometimes you just have to wait a little while for a guy to show you what he can do.