FUTURE IMPACT PLAYER (9/31) COLUMBUS BLUE JACKETS - ZACH WERENSKI
The Columbus Blue Jackets had an above average season, and D Zach Werenski had a big part in the team's success. Werenski was Columbus' 1st round pick, 8th overall, in 2015. Before making it to the NHL, he played two seasons with the University of Michigan, where he was named the Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year in 2016. Also, in the same year, he was 2nd in scoring amongst defenseman in the league, with 36 points in the same number of games. After signing an entry level deal with the Blue Jackets in late March 2016, he joined the AHL's Lake Erie Monsters during the Calder Cup Playoffs. There, he put up 5 goals and 14 points to help the Monsters win the championship. Werenski played his first NHL season in 16-17, and it's safe to say that he ran away with it. He scored his first goal in his 2nd NHL game against Martin Jones and the San Jose Sharks. Overall, he recorded 11 goals and 36 assists for 47 points over 78 games. He was a top three finalist for the Calder Trophy, given to the league's best rookie, but lost out to Toronto's Auston Matthews.
2018 prediction: Zach Werenski will continue to be a strong offensive defenseman for the Blue Jackets this coming season. He will not hit a sophomore slump, but I don't see his point total exceeding past 50 again this year. Instead, he will have 15 goals and 30 assists. The Columbus Blue Jackets will battle for a playoff spot as the Metropolitan division heats up, and Werenski will be there to give the team the drive they need.
Do you agree? Who is the future of the Blue Jackets?
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