After spending much of the summer in eligibility limbo, Zach Werenski will officially be a member of next year's Michigan hockey team. With all the necessary paperwork to graduate high school a year early complete, Werenski tweeted out a picture of himself signing a National Letter of Intent today.
Excited to have signed my NLI to play hockey for the University of Michigan! #GoBlue pic.twitter.com/oGm4M0HtV9— Zach Werenski (@ZachWerenski) July 17, 2014
We wrote about Werenski earlier this summer, when it was reported that the NTDP defenseman was trying to accelerate through his final year of high school in order to play with the Wolverines next season. It now seems official that Werenski's paperwork has been cleared and he will be eligible to play for the Wolverines. If Werenski had not been able to gain clearance to play at Michigan this upcoming season, he likely would have signed with the London Knights of the Ontario Hockey League, who hold his OHL rights.
Werenski will contribute to a group of first-year NHL Draft-eligibles playing NCAA hockey that will be near unprecedented since the NHL's collective bargaining agreement changed draft eligibility rules for NCAA players in 2005. Boston University's Jack Eichel leads the way, as a likely top two overall pick, while Werenski and Boston College defenseman Noah Hanifin are likely first round picks. Boston University freshman AJ Greer, and Wisconsin freshman Cameron Hughes are also potential high draft picks in next year's draft.