Thanks to the over 80 of you who voted in our poll! We combined your votes and the writers’ votes and our Top 25 Under 25 countdown continues today:
2nd out of 34 eligible players
Writers’ Vote: t-1st
Readers’ Vote: 2nd
Highest Placement: 1st (41 votes, most total 1st place votes)
Most Common Placement: 1st (41 votes)
2018 Rank: 2nd
Birthdate: July 19, 1997
Birthplace: Grosse Point, MI
Weight: 209 lbs
Acquired: Drafted by Columbus in Round 1 of the 2015 draft (#8 overall)
Zach Werenski had a bad start to the 2018-19 season. There is no denying that. He posted just seven points in the month of October (with two goals) as he struggled to rebound from offseason surgery to repair a torn labrum in his shoulder.
Many fans wanted him benched. Many fans wanted him traded. These fans are, objectively, bad and wrong.
Werenski went on to a monster second half of the season. He posted 13 points after the trade deadline as the team was making its playoff push while trying to integrate new acquisitions. He posted a career best four points on March 12 in a victory over the Boston Bruins. He registered 30 points of his 44 on the season after December 1.
It’s amazing what happens when a player is healthy and confident in their body after a major injury and surgery.
In the playoffs, Werenski scored one goal and posted six points in 10 total games. While plus/minus is a flawed stat, he only had one game where he was negative in the postseason - game six against the Boston Bruins.
Werenski is an excellent player, and is just 22 entering his 4th career season. He hasn’t fully developed his defensive game because that is the hardest position to learn in the NHL and he is the age of most college graduates. He is going to be a great player for the club.
Hey, guess what is happening for the first time since his rookie season?
Werenski has had an entire offseason where he has been healthy.
While he may not be under contract for this upcoming season (as of this writing), there is little doubt that Werenski will be signed by opening night.
There is a Q&A on ESPN .com with #CBJ GM Jarmo Kekalainen saying what concerns him about Werenski being unsigned is when situations like that lapse into camp, which opens Sept. 12.— Brian Hedger (@BrianHedger) August 28, 2019
Asked him about the comment and he is still "confident it will get done," in time.
After an offseason working with new signing Gustav Nyquist, hopefully those two will be on the same page to open the season.
Werenski —> Nyquist —> overtime goal. Future #CBJ teammates hooking up in @ESEhockey action. pic.twitter.com/SafiGNH6t9— Jeff Svoboda (@JacketsInsider) July 23, 2019
Werenski will be healthy and confident in his body entering the season. Likely playing next to Seth Jones, look for Werenski to take a step forward in his fourth NHL season as Jones did.
The Jackets have one of the best pairings in the NHL. Enjoy them, for years to come.