Zach Werenski Named To All-Star Game For Second Time In His Career; Is Well-Deserving To Represent The Columbus Blue Jackets

By Dan Dukart on January 17, 2022 at 10:15 am
Zach Werenski looks on before a game against the Carolina Hurricanes at PNC Arena
James Guillory-USA TODAY Sports

Columbus Blue Jackets defenseman Zach Werenski has been named to his 2nd NHL All-Star Game.

The 24-year old has taken another step in his development in 2021-22, his first year as the club's no-doubt number-one defenseman after long-term partner Seth Jones was traded in the off-season.

Brad Larsen was complimentary of his star defenseman, calling him an "elite" defenseman.

That claim would be difficult to refute. From a usage standpoint, Werenski is tasked with playing against the opposition's best players on a nightly basis. He's third in the NHL in average TOI, clocking a staggering 26:18 per night. His 6-15-21 stat-line ties him for 23rd in the NHL in scoring among defensemen, despite having the lowest shooting percentage of his career (5.8%). All that while playing primarily alongside Jake Bean, who's been punching way above his weight class in terms of quality of competition. 

Per Evolving-Hockey, Werenski's age 21-23 seasons most closely resembles that of Roman Josi, a perennial Norris Trophy candidate. Per CapFriendly, he has the t-55th most expensive cap hit among NHL defensemen, earning $5M per season. And Per The Athletic's player cards, created by Shayna Goldman and Dom Luszczyszyn, Werenski's market value this year is $7M. His goals and points projection (in yellow, below) put him in 'Star' territory, which checks out.

Werenski Player Card

Werenski joins a Metropolitan Division All-Star defense alongside the New York Islanders' Adam Pelech and New York Rangers' Adam Fox, the reigning Norris Trophy-winner.

Werenski is exactly what the Blue Jackets had hoped he would become when he was drafted with the 8th overall pick in the 2015 NHL Draft - a franchise, number one defenseman on a long-term contract. And now, for the second time, he'll represent the organization at the All-Star Game, Feb 5 in Las Vegas.