Though final details on an NHL contract are still pending, Michigan sophomore defenseman Zach Werenski has signed an amateur tryout offer with the Columbus Blue Jackets AHL affiliate Lake Erie Monsters, ending his college eligibility. The Blue Jackets selected Werenski with the eighth overall selection in last summer's NHL Entry Draft.
Werenski came to Michigan in 2014-2015 as the youngest player in college hockey after accelerating through his final year of high school to join the Wolverines early. He was named to the All-Big Ten team as a freshman after scoring 25 points in 35 games.
He continued his development this season scoring 11-25-36 in 36 games this year, making him the second-highest scoring defenseman in the NCAA this season. He also captained the US World Junior team in Helsinki, Finland this winter, where he was one of the top defensemen in the tournament.
We ranked Werenski as the seventh-best NHL prospect in all of college hockey this season. He is a terrific all-around defenseman that has showed excellent offensive flair over his past two seasons at Michigan. On the defensive end, he is sometimes caught being too aggressive, trusting his exceptional athleticism to help him recover, but he is capable of being a solid defensive defenseman when he is really focused.