Columbus’ Werenski named Team USA captain for World Juniors, Matthews an alternate

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The highest-drafted player on the U.S. roster has been chosen to wear the “C” at the upcoming World Junior Hockey Championships.

Zach Werenski, taken eighth overall by Columbus at the 2015 draft, was named team captain on Tuesday.

He’ll take the reins of a leadership group that includes Minnesota prospect Louie Belpedio, Ottawa prospect Colin White and the guy who will likely go higher at this year’s draft than Werenski did last year — Auston Matthews, the projected No. 1 overall selection for 2016.

“We’re excited about our leadership group here in Finland,” head coach Ron Wilson said, per USA Hockey. “Zach, Louie, Auston and Colin have led by example since day one in Lake Placid this August and have the respect of everybody in the room.”

Werenski, 18, is the second-youngest player to ever captain the American juniors. Last year, Jack Eichel became the youngest captain in the program’s history.