To be the best, you have to show longevity on top of every other attribute.
For Columbus Blue Jackets defenseman Zach Werenski, it only took a season for him to get recognized as an elite talent. After a 47-point rookie season and finishing third in Calder Trophy voting, the hype has only continued to grow.
It reached a fever pitch when NHL Network named Werenski to its list of the best defensemen in the NHL. He didn't just sneak his way in either, he was No. 13 on the list in front of a few big-time names.
Being between Dustin Byfuglien and Alex Pietrangelo is a great spot to land. Those two have been two of the league's best over the past few seasons.
In 78 games in 2016-17, Werenski scored 11 goals and added 36 assists for a total of 47 points. Those numbers set multiple new franchise records, but his historic season came to an unfortunate end with a facial injury in the Stanley Cup playoffs.
While Werenski's season was outstanding and put his name firmly on the map, it was surprising to not see Seth Jones' name on the list. He had a similar breakout campaign last year with a longer track record as well. Then again, offseason fodder is fodder for that very reason.
Regardless, having Werenski in tow with other defensive standouts is a situation the Blue Jackets have never had before. It is an embarrassment of riches on the back end.