I’d Like to Dedicate this Next Number To A Little Someone Named Patrick, Patrick Wiercioch

Patrick Wiercioch thinking about his future and hopes that the nicknames bestowed upon him are merciful.

Patrick Wiercioch thinking about his future and hoping that the nicknames bestowed upon him are merciful.

Hello all you men and women out there! Today on this website I would like to calmly discuss with you how Patrick Wiercioch is quickly becoming a bit of a thing.
His clutch tying goal in last night’s shootout loss to Montreal basically secured Ottawa the point. If Wiercioch can keep his production up he is going to be talked about more and more…take now for example!

Jack Edwards wasn’t mispronouncing his name he really is Patrick Weird Shot

Because the NHL can bite my butt, I watched several Binghamton games this year where, along with André Benoit, Wiercioch served as one of the BSens go-to puck moving offensive defensemen. In his 32 games in Bingo before the NHL got its shit together, he had 19 points. 10 of which were goals and 4 of them coming on the powerplay. I got to see a number of those goals get scored and I noticed even back then something interesting about a lot of them. They came off of really strange looking shots. Wiercioch seems to have a propensity to get off these low, dipping wobblers that manage to find their way in. In a flattering word his shot can be described as deceptive.
Now, I’ll be honest when I saw these strange bouncers going in again and again during his time in Binghamton I couldn’t help but think, “That’s great and all but you’re going to have to learn to put a little more mustard and cheese (ugh, sorry) on that thing if you’re going to take shots from the point in the NHL.” Anyway, examining his three NHL goals so far, recognize Johnny Blaze ain’t a damn thing changed:

Tying Goal in the 3rd period Last Night Vs. Montreal. This one is straight up hot. Replay the “Inside the Net” angle several times for full appreciation!

First NHL Vs. Islanders. Ties the the game at 2 with just over a minute left in the 3rd Note the weird knuckle puck action! Lucky? Who gives a rip if it goes in, it goes in.

Goal putting Ottawa up 2-0 in the first Vs. Rangers Again, weird shot in full effect. Look at the wobble on that thing…by the way, that ain’t exactly Dan Clouthier in net either!

Shut up, me!

I don’t know about you Eddie but I like the idea of a guy who can go low blocker or five hole from way up high in the slot. As for the argument that with the exception of the Montreal goal, the other two were a bit lucky I’m beginning to think otherwise. Having watched Wiercioch all season from AHL to NHL Im starting to think if these shots are lucky then that’s a lot of luck. I could be wrong on this but maybe it’s more of a tactic. Follow me:
We are now in the era of the Carey Price type goalie. They are big in the net with good movement laterally, and most importantly are textbook positionally. I think you see a lot of shots go wide these days because it seems you have to pick the absolute corner to beat most goalies high. It’s the weird dribblers bouncing off stuff and skipping off the ice that are going to make up a percentage of what fools the Lundqvists of the world (curse that handsome devil!).

Let’s Talk About Sex Replacing Gonchar

Obviously its really early to tell here but its undeniable that Wiercioch is starting to make a case for a full time job next season. He is the Mika Zibanejad of defensemen. Is he getting a lot of minutes? No. Is he trusted in all situations yet? No. Is he starting to put up some noticeable points? Definitely. This bodes well for a rookie in a line up like Ottawa currently has. He’s getting a bit more of a look he would have if the team was healthier and is taking advantage of it.

Let me start off by saying Patrick Wiercioch is no Sergei Gonchar. We’re talking about replacing a guy who’s a veteran of 17 seasons, a Cup champion with 2 Olympic medals and has played in 5 All Star games. Gonchar has played 94 more playoff games than Wiercioch has NHL games. The other thing though is that Sergei Gonchar isn’t really Sergei Gonchar. At least not since he’s been here. When Murray first signed him I thought we were getting that game breaking bastard that I hated so much in Pittsburgh. I don’t think his time here has been quite as disappointing as it’s seemed but I would be remiss if I didn’t say he’s frustrated the hell out of me on far more occasions than i’d hoped. I commend him in that he stepped up both last year in the playoffs with one of the team’s strongest performances and this year when he was handed Erik Karlsson level burnout minutes at age 38. He also sits 3rd on the team in points. Thanks bro! But real talk, this is Gonchar’s last season in Ottawa. That is of course if he make’s it past the trade deadline. Regardless, misgivings about the $5.5MM salary aside, he could take a $3MM dip in pay and I would bet the organisation would still not re-sign the soon to be 39 year old defenceman. I mean who is he, CHRIS PHILLIPS!? HAHAHAHA AH….ha….*cough*…huh…*stares at shoes*….another year to go.
Right, so, suffice to say, with Gonchar’s impending exit one would hope that the Sens era of “We’ll fill this hole in the lineup with an overpriced veteran” as strategy will end. With Silfverberg and Zibanejad all but assured top six jobs next season and Turris signed long term, the youth movement is underway at forward and a continued changing of the guard is realistic on defense. Observe THIS:

 Methot – Karlsson

Cowen – Wiercioch

Phillips – Frozen Dinner

Based on what you’ve seen from Wiercioch so far do you think this is a D corps you could hang your hat on? Sergei Gonchar has a poise with the puck and a world class vision that you probably cannot teach but also he’s looked flat out terrible at times in Ottawa. Before the season started I would have advocated a signing for someone to play with Cowen upon his return but I’m really starting to think Wiercioch could hold down a second paring job and bring a little more speed and toughness than Gonchar ever did here.
For me, Wiercioch has so far shown he’s got great lateral movement at the blueline, a good breakout pass, decent hands, a bit of toughness and adequate foot speed for the NHL. The biggest question I can think of is how will he respond to the increased minutes? Wiercioch gets the least amount of ice time of all active Ottawa defenders. Factor in Karlsson and he gets the 7th lowest amount. Though it can be said that he’s being sheltered because he’s a rookie, that doesn’t hold too much water considering fellow greenhorns Eric Gryba and Andre Benoit have been handed heavier workloads. Also important to keep in mind Wiercioch wasnt even a top pairing defenceman in Binghamton. Consider he went -14 on a Calder Cup winning team…and then -14 again the next year. Frankly, he’s shown pretty slow development overall. But that was then and the NHL is a “what have you done for me lately” business and he’s been delivering to the point that barring a trade or free agent signing, a top 4 spot is presumably his to lose next season. Do you think Weird Shot has what it takes?

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