Zach Werenski
Zach Werenski
22-Year-Old DefensemanD
Columbus Blue Jackets
2019 Fantasy Outlook
Among active NHL defensemen, only Aaron Ekblad tallied more goals by his age-21 season than Werenski's 38, and Ekblad has a one-season head start, debuting at 18 instead of 19. Now a grizzled 22, Werenski has been a power-play stalwart for the Blue Jackets ever since he stepped on the ice, combining slick passing and excellent vision with an uncanny knack for getting his point shot through traffic and behind the goalie. He's also worked hard to develop the rest of his game, although last year's minus-12 rating was a step backwards from his first two seasons. Seth Jones is the unquestioned top dog on the Columbus blue line thanks to his all-around ability, but Werenski is the blueliner with highest pure offensive ceiling, and his best days remain ahead of him. Read Past Outlooks
$Signed a three-year, $15 million contract with the Blue Jackets in September of 2019.
Blasts winner against Blues
DColumbus Blue Jackets
November 15, 2019
Werenski scored the game-winner on the power play in Friday's 3-2 overtime victory over the Blues.
The young blueliner took a feed from Seth Jones and ripped a one-timer into the top shelf that Jake Allen had little chance of getting his glove on. Werenski has now found the back of the net in three straight games, and on the year he's got six goals and 10 points in 19 games.
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Past Fantasy Outlooks
A lingering shoulder injury that eventually required offseason surgery prevented Werenski from building on his impressive rookie performance, but the 21-year-old was still able to make an impact with a career-high 16 goals. When he's healthy, he's a dynamic power-play quarterback and offensive threat at even strength, showing excellent passing skills and hockey IQ with a shot from the point that has an uncanny knack for finding its way through traffic. Werenski isn't a one-dimensional attacking player, though -- he's registered positive plus-minus ratings in both his NHL seasons and provides a calm, efficient presence in his own end. He's not as physical as his blue-line partner Seth Jones, but he doesn't need to be. His recovery from surgery could linger into the regular season and cause a slow start, but once he's 100 percent expect Werenski to enjoy a breakout campaign.
Werenski was a revelation as a teenager in his NHL debut last season, immediately stepping into the Blue Jackets lineup as their top offensive weapon on the blue line while holding his own as a defender. The eighth overall pick in 2015 displayed great vision and passing ability on the attack, as well as an uncanny knack for getting his shot through traffic from the point, and his presence was one of the key ingredients in a revitalized Columbus power play through the early part of the season. Expectations will be sky-high for the burgeoning superstar in 2017-18, but his talent and supporting cast should allow him to avoid a sophomore slump and top the 50-point mark.
More Fantasy News
Carries offense in shootout loss
DColumbus Blue Jackets
November 13, 2019
Werenski scored a goal and an assist in Tuesday's 3-2 shootout loss to the Canadiens.
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Buries fourth goal
DColumbus Blue Jackets
November 9, 2019
Werenski netted a goal on four shots in Saturday's 4-2 loss to the Avalanche.
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Pots power-play marker
DColumbus Blue Jackets
October 31, 2019
Werenski scored a power-play goal in Wednesday's 4-1 loss to the Oilers.
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Nabs helper in win
DColumbus Blue Jackets
October 8, 2019
Werenski picked up an assist in Monday's overtime win over the Sabres.
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Inks $15 million deal
DColumbus Blue Jackets
September 9, 2019
The Blue Jackets signed Werenski to a three-year, $15 million contract Monday, Aaron Portzline of The Athletic reports.
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