The Columbus Blue Jackets gave their 2015 first-round pick Zach Werenski a choice regarding how to handle his next season of development.
“I was 50-50 for a while,” Werenski said. “It’s a great position to be in — signing with Columbus or going to the University of Michigan are great options — but it’s a really tough call. Some of the teams I met with at the combine … they made it really clear: If we draft you, you’re going to do what we tell you to do and play where we say you’re going to play. Columbus didn’t do that, and I really appreciate it.”
He’s mere months removed from Columbus selecting him eighth overall, so the situation must have left his head spinning a bit. He excelled as a freshman defenseman at Michigan, yet he just turned 18 in July.
Werenski cited his young age – not to mention an urge to get his school back into the NCAA tournament – in explaining his return to Michigan.
One gets the impression that Blue Jackets management is giddy about him, even if they’re also trying to respect the patient approach.
“It’s all there for him to be a great defenseman in all facets,” NHL defenseman turned Michigan assistant Mike Komisarek said. “You talk to him, and you’d swear he was 25 years old. That’s how he plays, too. He’s in control of everything. I’m so excited about where this kid is going to go.”
First thing’s first, he’s going back to school.