The jump from year one to year two in the National Hockey League presents an interesting challenge for rookie sensations like Zach Werenski: How do you build on all of that success?
For one, you play to your strengths. For Werenski, that’s all about efficiency and making the most of limited space. The film shows that he’s done just that – even if the results look a bit different.
That’s right, folks, we’re critiquing Zach Werenski’s new living room.
As a part of the Blue Jackets’ partnership with Value City Furniture, Werenski was given the unique opportunity to go down to the store and build his new living room. Folks, it was an emotional journey (that you can watch in full here).
One of Werenski’s best traits is his vision, and his ability to quickly read his surroundings and make quick decisions. He does just that early on in this segment, surveying the store as soon as he breaks off the formal handshake, taking a quick look at a large white sectional.
That elite vision and quick decision-making ability immediately came back into play, as Werenski was shown a more modern, stylish setup for his potential living room. As Werenski knows well, the flashy play isn’t always the correct one.
Let’s take a closer look at what makes him such a special player.
Notice the look in his eyes when presented this ornate living room – with conflicting patterns, flashy decor and lack of space to operate. He realizes that this isn’t the right play to make – his houseguests will feel immediately unwelcome by the sheer audacity of the conflicting styles – and moves onto another option.
He pivots, with no wasted movement – just a subtle nod and quickly turn – and goes with the safe play, another white sectional.
With a big-minutes defenseman like Werenski, however, there are bound to be some concerning moments that come through in these film studies. This one’s ugly.
Of course, Werenski wasn’t actually in frame for this one, but its inclusion in this feature is concerning nonetheless. What the hell is that, anyways? For an efficient player like Werenski, the lack of functionality of that piece is uncharacteristic - even if he ended up not committing to it.
But, again, his good habits and instincts shine through. Presented with an unattractive option, like that fuzzy chair, he instantly moves on to a safer read.
Once again, it’s a white sectional.
The surroundings here are a clear red flag for Werenski, who quickly moves on to a safer white sectional. He knows exactly where his target is, but still keeps his head up just in case another, better option presents itself.
It looks like he’s got his sofa all planned out – his high assist totals from last year show that he’s great at helping those around him – but sometimes, you have to do it all on your own. Werenski’s goal scoring has picked up this year, a sign that he’ll take a chance on his own if he has to.
That’s exactly what he does here.
So, as we can see, his process is the same as it’s always been – efficient, but open to creativity. How were the results, though?
In this game, there’s no room for second-guessing, and it appears that Werenski did a little bit of that while waiting for his delivery. This body language seems more pensive than usual, rather than his uncompromising, almost robotic confidence he displayed during his rookie year.
Still, though, you can see that he’s the same ruthlessly efficient player. There’s no doubting his focus – those walls are bare for a reason. Posters and art are distractions, and therefore he has no need for them.
That’s one of the best parts of Werenski’s game – the ability to see something that nobody else does. He looked at no less than four different white sectionals, but came away with a stellar sofa/loveseat combo. In another big win, he got that black leather chair that he had his eyes on – plus a quality floor lamp.
This is encouraging, no doubt, but there’s still room for improvement. Making the safe play doesn’t mean refusing to take risks – and he could certainly stand to do that with a more colorful area rug.
While he makes great use of the existing space, he’s falling into patterns that are slightly worrisome. For example, that television is directly across from a large window, which could lead to glare that makes it harder for him to fully comprehend what’s on the screen.
The frustrating part of that particular error, though, is that the cable jack is right there, in plain sight, on the adjacent wall. Fixable error, though, and he’ll clean that up as he gains more experience.
Still, though, he looks comfortable – and that’s the goal. Not a bad day for Werenski.