Senators ink Wiercioch to three-year deal

The Ottawa Senators have signed restricted free agent defenceman Patrick Wierioch to a three-year contract with an average annual value of $2 million.

Senators ink Wiercioch to three-year deal
Pascal Dupuis #9 of the Pittsburgh Penguins defends against Patrick Wiercioch #46 of the Ottawa Senators as he passes the puck, during an NHL game at Scotiabank Place, on April 22, 2013 in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada. (Photo by Jana Chytilova/Freestyle Photography/Getty Images)

Patrick Wiercioch had more than a passing interest in the infamous Ottawa Senators events of July 5, given he’s expected to be a key piece of the team’s re-vamped power play next season.

The only problem was that newlywed Wiercioch, who had been married all of six days, was in transit from his in-laws’ place in Minnesota to his native Burnaby, B.C. The start of NHL free agency, combined with a day of travel for the new couple, made getting information about the annual signing frenzy especially frustrating.

“(The day) was really memorable, in that we were travelling back to Vancouver having just got married the week before in Minnesota,” Wiercioch said Monday after signing a new three-year contract with the Senators to end his brief time as a restricted free agent. “We’re driving to the airport and my phone is going crazy with news and I turned to my wife and said, ‘this has to be the worst day to be in the U.S. without TSN and not being able to get the news.’

“I hated to see Jacob (Silfverberg) go to Anaheim but everyone knows what Bobby (Ryan) is capable of. Fans are going to love him.”

Less than three weeks later, Patrick and wife Kresson are still very much a happy couple — even happier with the pay boost that will see Wiercioch’s base salary jumps from the pro-rated $875,000 he earned last season after making the jump from AHL Binghamton to the parent club to $2 million this upcoming campaign.

And like most newlywed couples, they plan on renting just a little while longer before jumping into the local housing market.

“We’re excited to say Ottawa is the first place that we will call home,” said the 22-year-old Wiercioch, who led Senators defencemen with three power-play goals while ranking second among rookie defencemen in scoring and ninth overall among all rookies. “We still have the lease going from the point at which I was told to find a place and I think, having just unpacked our last box of stuff, we’ll just stay where we are for now.”

Wiercioch appeared in 42 of Ottawa’s 48 regular-season games in 2012-13, registering 19 points on five goals and 14 assists. His plus-nine rating also led team defenceman and saw him finish the season tied for the overall team lead.

All that was after recording 19 points, including 10 goals, on the farm before bidding the AHL farewell for good. His time there also included the memorable run to the Calder Cup championship in 2010-11.

Wiercioch is at a perfect point in his young career. And more will be expected with the departure of Sergei Gonchar to Dallas.

“Honestly, everything about the deal allows me to grow into a role with the team — not to win a Norris Trophy, but to continue to progress and develop,” said Wiercioch, the Senators’ second-round selection (42nd overall) in the 2008 NHL Draft.

“I put expectations on myself too. I have to begin to mature as a player, where I hope I will be playing the last minutes of games and earning time on the penalty kill too. This deal allows me to grow into that.”

dcampbell@ottawacitizen.com
Twitter.com/doncampbellCIT

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