The Columbus Blue Jackets 2015 first round pick (8th overall) Zach Werenski has announced that he will return to the University of Michigan for another season, according to the Columbus Blue Jackets website.
Despite the Blue Jackets desperate search for defense, particularly after Mike Reilly decided not to sign with the team and with reports that they’ve been unable to make a deal with Christian Ehrhoff work, Werenski wasn’t really an option at the NHL level for next season. He was reported to have consider hopping over to the OHL to play for the London Knights, but that now appears to be off the table.
The defenseman posted 25 points (nine goals, 16 assists) in 35 games for the Wolverines last season. He’s currently at the U.S. National team evaluation camp where he sealed a comeback win over Finland on Wednesday with an overtime goal late in the extra frame.
It could be a big year for Werenski, taking on a bigger role at the University of Michigan and getting key minutes playing for Team USA at the World Juniors Championships, which will kick off on December 26 in Helsinki, Finland. He also played for the U.S. in the 2015 tournament, adding one goal and one assist in five games.
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Dustin Nelson writes about news and the Minnesota Wild for The Hockey Writers.