Senators' Patrick Wiercioch expected to play with Erik Karlsson

Patrick Wiercioch will likely be paired up with Erik Karlsson this season for the Senators. (Errol...

Patrick Wiercioch will likely be paired up with Erik Karlsson this season for the Senators. (Errol McGihon/QMI Agency)

DON BRENNAN, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 12:08 AM ET

OTTAWA - Pssst ... wanna know a secret?

Patrick Wiercioch should be a nice sleeper pick in hockey pools this season.

With Sergei Gonchar away prolonging his career in Dallas, the 23-year-old Wiercioch is likely to be Erik Karlsson's full-time point partner on the Senators blueline.

"We feel that Patrick Wiercioch is ready to take on that role," coach Paul MacLean said in the hours leading up to Thursday's pre-season tilt with the Toronto Maple Leafs. "Right now, Patrick and Erik are going to anchor the first unit, and we're going to give them really every opportunity to show that they can do it.

"We anticipate that they're going to be very good."

Wiercioch had a shot on goal during Ottawa's first power play against the Leafs and another on the second. He also did a lot of the legwork behind the Toronto net to set up the Senators' first goal of the game, with the teams at regular strength.


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