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Zach Werenski Signs with Lake Erie For Remainder of The Season; Signs ELC For '16-'17

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The Michigan defenseman takes his place among the professional ranks.

Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

Zach Werenski has signed.

Unlike Mike Reilly before him, Werenski signed his deal and will spend the rest of the season on an amateur tryout contract with the Lake Erie Monsters.

"Zach Werenski is a tremendous young man and a very talented player who is going to be an important part of our organization for many years and we’re excited about him taking this first step in his professional career," said Kekalainen.

Werenski registered 11-25-36 for Michigan this season. Werenski has also represented his country. He captained Team USA to a bronze medal at the 2016 IIHF World Junior Championships. This past season for Michigan, he was named the Big Ten Defensive Player of the year. He was second in the country in scoring, in addition to leading the Big Ten. He could perhaps solidify the blue line for years to come.

More to come on this signing as the Blue Jackets look for positives to end the year.

UPDATE: 1:05 PM

The Jackets are reporting that Werenski has signed his ELC, but that it doesn't kick in until NEXT season (the 2016-17 season). So, he'll play out the remainder of the AHL season in Lake Erie, and will officially begin his pro career in the fall. This is all to ensure he remains protected for any expansion draft in 2018 without the team having to use one of its "protection spots" on him.