UFA Target: Patrick Wiercioch

Photo:  (Jay Kopinski/Icon SM)

Photo: (Jay Kopinski/Icon SM)

With July 1 looming and Steven Stamkos off the board, the 2016 free agent class gets a whole lot more interesting. On defense, Jason Demers, Dan Hamhuis, and Kris Russell are scheduled for big paydays July 1. The trade market exploded yesterday with PK Subban and Shea Weber being swapped for each other and the Devils nabbing Taylor Hall for Adam Larsson. One under the radar signing is former Ottawa Senator Patrick Wiercioch.

Wiercioch is 25 and wasn’t qualified after only amassing five points in 52 games with Ottawa. Luckily, his possession numbers tell a different story.

Via Own the Puck

Via Own the Puck

As compared to Mark Streit, Wiercioch is a definite improvement from a possession standpoint, which is a better indicator of future point production than point production itself. Wiercioch’s overall possession impact is probably less than the supposed top pair billing the HERO chart gives him, but as third pair/depth pair guy. To put him in perspective, he’s very similar to Brandon Manning:

Via Own the Puck

Via Own the Puck

To put this in perspective, both are far better than Nick Schultz and Andrew MacDonald:

Via Own the Puck

Via Own the Puck

As such, in a perfect world, the Flyers would sign Wiercioch for 2 years at say a 1.5 AAV, this would then allow them to jettison MacDonald and/or Streit by the end of July. As an aside on Mark Streit, due to his July 1 signing bonus, he becomes far easier to move on July 2, if I were to pick a day that Streit moves, it would be Sunday, after the big UFA names fall off the board and a team sees Streit for a mid round pick as being their plan B or plan C.

Patrick Wiercioch serves two purposes, not only is he a major improvement over the Flyers bottom 3 defenders (from a talent, not usage standpoint) of MacDonald, Schultz and Streit, but his possession oriented game will only help the transitional game and take some pressure off Shayne Gostisbehere. And, if you sign Wiercioch for 2 years, he’s the guy you dangle in an expansion draft from the defense while waiting for Morin, Sanheim, Provorov and Phil Myers to make the NHL. If he’s taken, it’s not a great loss, if he isn’t taken, the Flyers can trade him to a team that lost a defender as stop gap.

Either way, Patrick Wiercioch is a low risk high reward signing.

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