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Is Michigan Close to Landing Zach Werenski?

Michigan may be close to bringing in Werenski a season early.

Gregory Shamus

Throughout the spring, Michael Spath of The Wolverine has been dropping hints that US NTDP U17 defenseman Zach Werenski could be accelerating his final year of high school in order to play for Michigan next season.

Today, Spath posted another update, and it appears that plan is coming closer to fruition:

It's a paperwork issue. He needs some documents from his HS in terms of fast-tracking to a degree this summer in order to sign a letter of intent with U-M. Everyone involved expects that to get done. Hoping to talk to the young man today or tomorrow.

Werenski was a bit overshadowed on the U17 blue line this past season by Noah Hanifin, who is projected as a potential top 5 draft pick in the 2015 NHL Draft, but Werenski himself is projected as a mid-first rounder in 2015 as well. Werenski was the second-leading scoring defenseman on the U17s with a 7-24-31 scoring line, one point behind Hanifin. Werenski's OHL rights are held by the London Knights.

Finding a way to get Werenski eligible for next season would be huge for Michigan as well, after striking out on a number of defensive recruits for next season over the past year. Last year's defensive group was a disaster for Michigan, and with their top defenseman departing due to graduation in Mac Bennett, and relatively little help coming in, it looked as though that area could be a huge concern for Michigan. Adding a 17-year-old, albeit an ultra-talented one, wouldn't necessarily fix all those problems, but would certainly go a long ways in helping.