Dog days of summer are here. That's a good time to catch up on a new Senators prospect who didn't get the local headlines that the charismatic first rounder Erik Karlsson did.
Patrick Wiercioch, an offensive defenseman picked in the second round by the Sens was once thought to be headed to Dany Heatley's alma mater in Wisconsin with the Badgers (who are coached by ex-Sen Patrick Eaves father) but is now going to play for the Denver Pioneers in the WCHA according to the Hockey News:
"The B.C. native was also happy to be selected by a Canadian franchise, especially one he sees himself playing for in the future.
“I think Ottawa is a good fit,” he said. “I’m an offensive defenseman, much like the first pick (Erik Karlsson).”
While Wiercioch had planned to spend the next few years in Wisconsin, the timeline likely doesn’t change for Denver, where he expects to grow his game at the proper pace and go pro when the time is right.
“Making the NHL is the No. 1 goal,” he noted. “If I feel I’m ready to make the jump, then I’ll be confident in that decision.”
-The Hockey News
The Wiercioch "signing" (letter of intent) was fairly big news in the college hockey world. Mike Chambers of the Denver Post followed the story closely:
"Wiercioch had a terrific second half of the season for the Omaha Lancers of the United States Hockey League, obviously impressing the Ottawa Senators, who selected him with the 42nd overall pick in June.
“We were well aware of his dramatic contribution to his team and their playoff season,” Gwozdecky said. “He really developed in the second half of the season. Sometimes it’s hard to project when a guy is going to be ready, but we think he’s ready and he’s bound and determined to play college hockey in the fall, and he’s going to be with the Pioneers. So that’s great.”
The commentary is this: Very nice late pick-up by the Pios. A kid of this caliber is so hard to find this time of year, and DU was fortunate to present the ideal opportunity for Wiercioch. Secondly, let’s just hope he turns out better than former NHL second-round D-men T.J. Fast and Keith Seabrook, who both bolted Denver for major-junior long before reaching their potential."
- Denver Post
Needless to say, this kid sounds pretty good.