Like we’ve done in the past, we’re profiling top prospects who may hear their names called Friday in the first round of the 2015 NHL Entry Draft. But this year, something new — we’re featuring special guest analysis from former Minnesota Wild scout Mark Seidel, who currently serves as the president of North American Central Scouting.
Zach Werenski (D)
Height: 6’2 Weight: 206 Shoots: Left
Team: University of Michigan (NCAA)
NHL Central Scouting ranking: No. 9 among North American Skaters
What kind of player is he?
Along with Boston University’s Jack Eichel and Boston College’s Noah Hanifin, Werenski is part of the “big three” NCAA prospects expected to go high at this year’s draft. But what sets Werenski apart from Eichel and Hanifin is his age — at 17, he was the youngest college hockey player in the country last season (after accelerating his high school course work to graduate a year early.)
Werenski’s freshman campaign was a good one. He led all Wolverines d-men in scoring, with 25 points in 35 games, and was named to both the Big Ten’s first and all-freshman teams.
“He’s had to learn the college game and the quickness, the defensive-zone stuff, our systems and structure, but he was able to continue to play his game and play the right way,” Michigan head coach Red Berenson said, per NHL.com. “I’d put him right up there with former Michigan defensemen Jacob Trouba, Mike Komisarek, Jack Johnson and Jeff Jillson.
“They were all first-round picks in the NHL and they all had big-time hockey written all over them just like Zach does.”
“Werenski decided to play for Berenson at U of M last year and quickly showed scouts why he’s considered a potential franchise defenseman. He has a complete game, accentuated by good size and quick feet — both of which make him a formidable force in the defensive end. As the youngest player to ever play for Berenson, he showed incredible maturity for his age and his ceiling is extremely high.”
NHL comparable: Ryan McDonagh
For more 2015 NHL Draft profiles, click here.