We know Zach Werenski toughed it out for most of the season.
That much was obvious, through watching him play with less assertion than he did in his rookie season and grimacing at different points during games. He wasn't 100 percent – far from it, in fact – but still managed the be among the NHL's goal-scoring leaders for defensemen and drive the Blue Jackets' offense.
Blue Jackets GM Jarmo Kekalainen offered details on Werenski's injury, which was recently surgically repaired (a photo posted to Werenski's Instagram account shows him in an arm sling) and should have him ready early in the 2018-19 season.
"Zach played through a lot of pain. That's just...simply put," Kekalainen said. "When they opened his shoulder up (in surgery) and finally saw what the injury was, there was a significant injury there and he had to play through a lot of pain the whole season, basically."
Werenski said in his exit interview that the injury occurred in an October game against the Boston Bruins, which meant he carried the injury with him for the better part of six months. Still, the 20-year-old played 77 regular season games and all six games of the Blue Jackets' first-round loss to the Washington Capitals.
"He played with a brace that he could hardly move with," Kekalainen added. "And trying to shoot with that brace when [demonstrates a limited range of motion] your arm moves this much, it's pretty hard battling for loose pucks. It affects everything.
"He didn't ever complain or use it as an excuse – he just kept playing. Now, he'll be healthy for next year."
The Blue Jackets announced May 3 that Werenski underwent successful surgery on the injured shoulder, performed by Dr. Larry Watson of Orthopedic ONE in Columbus. At the time, his recovery was listed at 5-6 months.