UFA Patrick Wiercioch
Up first is the silently solid rear-guard who spent last season with the “AHL team in disguise” Colorado Avalanche, Patrick Wiercioch. This one is a bit of a long shot largely because it’s hard to see Treliving stepping in the FA pool again when he has so many other options available within the organization. That said, Wiercioch is a guy that would come cheep (his last deal was 0.8Mx1yr) and who’s had pretty good numbers (offensive production notwithstanding) prior to his time in Denver where he posted a 4-8-12 statline in 53 games.
First thing is first though, Wiercoch was less than impressive on a Colorado team that already wasn’t good. As stated above, his offensive production wasn’t particularly good, but that’s usually the case with him. The biggest departure from the Wiercioch we saw in Ottawa was in his underlying numbers (Corsi, Fenwick, scoring chance%).Essentially the things that help you see if a player is helping to move play in the right direction. For the case of comparing him just to his teammates I’ll be using the Relative numbers rather than just raw percentages. This will help to show how he compared to his fellow teammates.
Brief rundown on how these numbers work:
"The stats that will be used are Rel.CF% which, like CF%, measures to total percentage of all shot attempts (on net, missed, and blocked) for the team out the total in the their games, rather than a raw% though though, the Rel. part breaks it down into that players impact relative to the teams average performace. Rel.FF% is a lot like Rel.CF% in that it measures shot attempts except it only measures shots-on-goal and missed shots. Lastly, Rel.SCF% does the same job in measuring relative to the team except it measures the teams scoring chances for and against. Positives numbers mean the team is better than the average for the team, negative mean they’re generally worse."
Last season he ranked 2nd-to-last out of COL’s regular defenders in Rel.CF% and Rel.SCF% (-2.03 and -6.0 respectively), and dead last in FF% at -3.58 (all stats from Natural Stat Trick). This shows that, even compared to other COL defenders, Wiercioch was seeing the play go against him a lot.
Prior to this one year stop in COL, however, Wiercioch was a regular on the Ottawa Senator‘s blueline and his underlying numbers there were much more promising. During the 2015/16 season, Patrick Wiercoch placed 2nd in all of those categories behind only Erik Karlsson. During that season he posted a Rel.CF% of 1.59, a Rel.FF% of 1.24 and a Rel.SCF% of -2.75.
With someone like a Wiercioch there’s obviously risk involved. Are the numbers he posted in Ottawa what we should expect from him normally and COL was just an aberration? Or did we see legitimate decline from him in Colorado and that’s who he is now? At only 26 years old the smart money is on this year being the one-off and that he’ll return to the form that we saw in Ottawa where he was one of their best.
EDIT: Wiercoch ended up signing with Vancouver.