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2016-17 Blue Jackets Player Reviews: Zach Werenski

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(Insert the heart eyes emoji here)

Montreal Canadiens v Columbus Blue Jackets Photo by Kirk Irwin/Getty Images

Zach Werenski 2016-17 Stats

Games played: 78
Goals: 11 (career high)
Assists: 36 (career high)
Points: 47 (career high)
Time on ice: 20:55 (career high)
Penalty Minutes: 14 (career high)
Corsi For (even strength): 54.1% (career high)

(this is not going to be objective - I love Zach Werenski)

Zach Werenski had the best rookie season any Columbus Blue Jacket has ever had, regardless if he wins the Calder Trophy (as Steve Mason did once upon a time) or not. Zach Werenski had the best rookie season any skater for the Blue Jackets has ever had, surpassing the totals of guys like Rick Nash, Ryan Johansen, Boone Jenner, and Cam Atkinson.

According to NHL.com, Zach Werenski’s point total as a rookie was the 23rd best performance by a rookie defenseman ever.

Wait, sorry.

ACCORDING TO NHL DOT COM, ONLY 22 DEFENSEMAN HAVE EVER HAD BETTER ROOKIE SEASONS SCORING IN THE HISTORY OF THE LEAGUE THAN ZACH WERENSKI JUST DID.

That, right there, is bonkers.

Zach Werenski turned pro after his sophomore year at Michigan in the spring of 2016, joined the Cleveland Monsters, and helped propel them to a Calder Cup within weeks of joining the team. He came to camp this fall, impressed all of his coaches, and made the opening night roster on the first pairing next to Seth Jones. At the ripe old age of 19.

Almost immediately, the Blue Jackets realized they had something special in Werenski. He quarterbacked the first unit power play for much of the season, played first pairing minutes, drove possession, was a key to the speed and transition game that Coach Tortorella preached for much of the season, and was one of the driving forces behind the best season in franchise history.

Werenski set the rookie franchise record for points in a season, waving at Rick Nash’s numbers as he passed by. He could have possibly hit 50 points had he not been injured toward the end of the regular season. Werenski was injured again in the playoffs and still fought through a FRACTURED ORBITAL BONE and played until he literally could not see out of his eye. That, friends, is the mark of a warrior who left it all on the line for his club and his city this season.

Werenski is going to be here forever, and if he keeps improving and progressing and keeps his head on straight, he could retire at the end of his career as the greatest to ever wear the Union Blue.

The sky is the limit for Zach Werenski, It’s up to him to reach it.

HIGHLIGHTS

Remember when our stud was named rookie of the month in November? They grow up so fast.

Here’s Zach’s first ever playoff goal.