[2015 NHL Draft] First Round, Eighth Overall: Blue Jackets bolster defense by taking Zack Werenski

By Kristopher Bras
Zach Werenski - Columbus Blue Jackets

Photo: The Columbus Blue Jackets added to their defensive depth with the selection of University of Michigan defender Zach Werenski at the 2015 NHL Draft (courtesy of Ken McKenna/HF)



Zach Werenski was not the highest rated defenseman in the draft, but judging from the smile on his face when the Columbus Blue Jackets selected him 8th overall in the first round, that did not matter much. The acquisition addressed the organization’s need for a quality defenseman.

“It’s pretty unbelievable…and I’m pretty happy that it all worked out,” he said.

Werenski is a dynamic offensive defenseman that makes quick plays and has a booming shot. He will need conditioning to get better in his own end, but he has the upper body strength to become a ferocious defender if he puts the time into it. Most scouts agree that he has enormous upside in all aspects of the game, and only needs to improve his foot speed to get a long look from pro coaches.

For now though, Werenski can just breathe a sigh of relief now that draft day has finally come and gone.

“It’s a pretty long day. I think today has been the longest day I’ve ever been through. I just kept thinking about it, and I can’t wait for it, and it’s here. And it seems like it’s going by quick now.”

Columbus fans might have to wait a while to see Werenski, as he may return to the University of Michigan for his junior year in the fall.