Irresponsible Rumormongering

Potential trade target: Patrick Wiercioch

Trade season is upon us. We’ve already seen the first two major pieces fall, as Evander Kane and Tyler Myers were involved in the same trade between Winnipeg and Buffalo. While it’s unlikely we see a trade of that magnitude by the time the deadline passes, we will likely see a number of trades for rentals. The playoff picture is already set in the Eastern Conference, and the Western Conference already has six of the eight teams set. What this means is more clearly defined buyers and sellers.

The New York Rangers have already been linked to Mike Santorelli, which is one low cost option to help up front. They’ve also been linked to Antoine Vermette, who is significantly more expensive, both in trade cost and actual cost.

On the blue line Andrej Sekera appears to be the popular name, but he is also coming with a hefty price tag. Suit discussed three low-cost options in Mark Stone, Mike Weber, and Ryan Murphy (Murphy is probably costing more than the first two), but all three, save for Weber, appear to have roles with their current clubs. The Rangers would need to find a value defenseman, someone who appears to be an upgrade on the John Moore/Matt Hunwick combination, at a low cost in cap and trade.

That’s where Patrick Wiercioch of Ottawa slots in. Wiercioch is a healthy scratch regularly for the Sens because he doesn’t have sexy numbers. He’s at 1-4-5 in 21 games, and Dave Cameron appears to prefer a number of players over the 24-year-old. That should be a cause for concern, but all coaches are vulnerable to their favorites, as we’ve seen with Alain Vigneault and Tanner Glass (over J.T. Miller, the better player).

wiercioch HERO
Top pairing production, healthy scratch.

The chart above is a HERO (Horizontal Evaluative Ranking Optics) chart, courtesy of Own The Puck. It basically takes P/60 and some various Corsi% numbers and charts them out to rank, as described in the paragraph above the player name.

All of Wiercioch’s charts show he has top pairing production, but he just doesn’t play. Since he doesn’t play, it’s likely that he is available. His flaw is that he doesn’t necessarily put up points, but that has to do with playing time. He should sound like a defenseman we are familiar with, someone that plays for Tampa Bay now.

Not sold on Wiercioch based on the new chart? Well here’s his usage chart, which compares him to the rest of the defensemen in Ottawa:

That’s a very dark blue circle being scratched a lot.

He’s no Erik Karlsson or Marc Methot, but he’s certainly better than pretty much every other defenseman. Considering the role he’d have with the Rangers (sheltered starts, third pairing), he’d be a welcome addition. Worried about those offensive zone starts? Well, let’s compare him to Moore and Hunwick, the guys he’d be replacing.

Wiercioch is the best of the three here.
Wiercioch is the best of the three here.

The usage chart again shows us that Wiercioch drives possession better, despite facing tougher competition and fewer offensive zone starts than both Moore and Hunwick. Let’s also look at the HERO charts for Moore and Hunwick, just to make the comparison fair. First Moore:

Not as good as Wiercioch.
Not as good as Wiercioch.

And Hunwick:

hunwick HERO
Still like Wiercioch better.

So here we see that we have a player that, on paper, is a better fit for what the Rangers are looking for. However, cap space is going to be a major issue. They can temporarily clear some space by putting Henrik Lundqvist on LTIR, but they would need that space again when they activate him, so there’s really no point in doing so. They need cheap talent that can be viewed as upgrades to their current lineup.

Wiercioch has a $2 million cap hit, signed through next season. Not expensive, but not really cheap either. If Moore goes the other way, then the Rangers can slide him into the lineup pretty soon, based on my horrible math (good lord I miss CapGeek). If the Rangers wait and bank more cap space, they might be able to land him without dealing a roster player.

Wiercioch is, without a doubt, a significant upgrade on both Moore –who, to be fair, has been playing much better lately, but it may be too little too late– and Hunwick. These are players who are playing the same roles on their respective teams, so there wouldn’t be a culture shock for Wiercioch if he were to come to New York. From what I’ve seen, which I admit isn’t that much, Wiercioch is a capable skater. He’s not John Moore out there, but he’s at least on par with Hunwick.

When it comes to trade cost, that’s tough to gauge. Since he doesn’t play, I’m assuming it wouldn’t cost much. Maybe a mid-tier prospect or a mid-level pick, much like the Raphael Diaz acquisition last season (5th round pick). But I am admittedly skewed by the charts, so I’d say it would cost both a prospect and a pick, or at least a roster player like Moore. If Moore isn’t in their long term plans, and they don’t want to rush Brady Skjei next season, then Wiercioch is a solid add.

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  • At this stage of the game, and with the holes that have been discovered this season on defense, this could make a good deal, assuming the cost is reasonable!!

  • Play Moops with G for a few games and see want he can do At Moops age tough to give up on him he shows at times what he can bring , maybe he just needs a change to get going weather a different role with NYR or some place else

  • Wondering if there is another reason why this guy does not dress regularly. As for Kane, his high-cost and extra-curricular activities added to his drop in production showed that he was a perfect player for a new home. I can’t really see Wiercioch as a solution. I do expect a forward (or 2) to be moved and replaced with someone with some grit and scoring ability. Logjam at forward gets worse next spring, so now might be the time to clear some space.

      • Do you really think that AV has “no good reason” for sitting Miller? Or do you think it’s possible, just possible, that he has his reasons but has decided not to share them publicly because it would be disadvantageous to do so?

        That’s one hell of a motive to attribute to someone absent any information.

        • Until he provides a legitimate reason why he is sitting Miller for Glass, then I believe it’s personal. Miller is the better player. Period.

          • Look, some players get a longer rope than others. Glass must have done something in a past life for AV that still resonates with him. JT has his share of rookie mistakes. but AV has no tolerance for that from him.

          • But he has tolerance of that from Hayes? Fast? It’s a double standard.

            Look, if Glass were better than Miller, then by all means dress Glass. But he’s not, and it’s not even close.

          • I think you got it right, Dave. I thought for a while that it must be personal. No evidence to support that, but the seemingly senseless benchings would lead you to assume it has nothing to do with his on ice play. Its a shame!

          • I think he would have a good reason to sit him if he had better options. He doesn’t. So he has no good reason to sit him.

          • Got it. So even though you have no objective information, and are therefore by definition making an assumption, you don’t think it’s even *possible* that AV (and Sather) have their reasons for occasionally sitting Miller (and playing Glass/Stemp) but are not disclosing them because it would be disadvantageous to do so. It simply *must* be personal.

          • AV has not publicly stated a reason, and my objective information is what I see and with the stats.

            If you have an issue with my opinion, that’s fine. However, your tone has been inflammatory and derogatory. It seems you have a problem with me. But yet you continue to come to the site? I sense a flaw.

          • Hey 43, you’re another one that continues to come here and comment just to hate on me. I thank you for the pageviews.

          • Dave, your tone is usually very hostile. If readers opinions differ from yours (which you should expect), your responses tend to be more in line with attack than retort. Hostility evokes hostility, Dave. I’m not trying to be a negative Nancy, but you can be a bully sometimes, and you almost always accuse your reader of being the malicious one. Paco33 gave a pretty logical retort and you then insinuate that he is coming on here just to hate you. No one hates you, Dave. We don’t even know you. But sometimes, you can get heated when your opinion isn’t heralded as absolute truth. I get it, it is your site after all, but try not to take things so personally.

          • Dave: Only someone with skin as thin as Toronto’s team defense would find anything I said here to be “inflammatory and derogatory.” I asked you a very reasonable, simple, clear and direct question which you have, surprisingly, been unwilling or unable to answer.

            My tone was direct but nothing less than respectful and with a complete absence of anything personal.

            Until right now.

            Becky, Kevin, Chris, Justin, Suit – I appreciate your efforts and your informative and knowledgeable posts. Most of the commentors are likewise knowledgeable and engaging.

            Dave, cv19 could not have been more right – you are unbearable. And like cv19 I will trouble you no more.

            Let’s go Rangers!!

          • My 2 cents worth for you to think about.

            Last season Sather stated that had Miller been healthy, he would have played during the play-offs. Now did the kids talents deteriorate so much that he should sit as often? I think not. It more than likely is personal, just my opinion!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

        • There is no good reason. And it’s not just Miller. AV has sat (in no particular order) Stempniak, Fast and Miller in favor of Glass. Don’t believe me? Look at every box score with Glass in it and you’ll notice one of those three missing. AV has some insane and unexplainable love affair/man crush with Glass.

          What other explanation can you offer as to why Glass plays over any one of those three players? If you can’t see by either eye test or advanced stats that Glass is a detriment to the team I don’t know what else to tell you.

  • Sounds like a perfect fit. I think the Rangers even banked enough cap space to add Weircioch without subtracting. The bigger issue is next season. Weircioch will be making almost double what John Moore would get to be the sixth D next year. I am assuming Moore’s virtual invisibility this season means he’s looking at a minimal raise for next season. Probably one year at around $1M – $1.2M.

    As far as trade cost, I think Ottawa would be willing to take a mid-rounder for a $2M D that isn’t cracking their top 6. Ottawa is the cheapest team in the league (remember, they talk all the time about their self-imposed salary cap) so moving out a $2M commitment for next season would probably be a huge win for them.

      • Yes, you’re right. Weircioch is due $2.2M this year and $2.7M next year. He is definitely a goner. I’m sure Slats is performing his Jedi Mind Tricks on his old friend Bryan Murray as we speak. Weircioch for a 4th rounder by the end of the week.

          • NHL should just buy capgeek and run it so we can all understand what is going on in the league. it’s their own fault for needing this crazy-as-heck salary cap regime to begin with, i say suck it up and give the fans a tool to help make sense of it.

          • Why would the NHL want to disclose salary figures much less pay to do so?

            capgeek was great, but it’s not irreplaceable. Eventually, someone will create a substitute. I just hope it’s soon. NHLNumbers isn’t anywhere near the level of quality that capgeek was.

          • The tough part about replacing CapGeek is that, I believe, he had a guy in that department with the NHL. He was able to get all data, including bonus information. That’s tough to come by.

          • or maybe because the GMs can’t figure out their own cap situation without capgeek 🙂

  • A healthy scratch on a bad team with a $2M cap hit. What could go wrong?

    The numbers are not trustworthy when talking about a player who isn’t trusted. I don’t think Stu Bickel had bad numbers – he just never played against anyone who could score.

    And remember, JT Miller is sitting so Tanner Glass can play. Presumably Weiercioch is sitting so several bad players can play.

    Be careful with the phrase “without a doubt”. This would be a bad move IMO.

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