This is not a kid you want to take a risk on - especially during exhibition games.
Per a report from Aaron Portzline of The Athletic, Columbus Blue Jackets' defenseman Zach Werenski "will not play in early exhibition games, (and) may not play in exhibition games at all."
Werenski played almost the entire 2017-2018 campaign with a shoulder injury after hurting it less than a month in the season.
Zach Werenski declined to comment on his injury. Said it occurred in the first home game vs Boston. #CBJ
— Alison (@AlisonL) April 24, 2018
Portzline continued that after initially suffering the injury, Werenski wore a brace that wrapped around his torso and connected to his left arm for the remainder of the season, and that the brace restricted his range of motion to prevent further tears of the labrum.
Despite the injury lingering throughout the entire season, Werenski still managed to have a successful sophomore year - setting a club record for most goals by a defenseman with 16, which was later tied by his partner Seth Jones.
The potential preseason absence shouldn't be a concern to fans - Werenski knows this will be a process, and he's not rushing his timeline, especially after how limited he felt the previous year.
"My goal, ultimately, is to be there for Game 1," Werenski told BlueJackets.com last month. "You never want to miss time, you never want to miss games, so my goal going into training camp and into the season is to be ready for Game 1.
"If it's later, like Game 5 or Game 10, whenever that is, I'm going to work to miss as few games as possible and be ready to help the team."
The 21-year-old defensemen collected 37 points for the Jackets last season and should be ready to make a case for the top defensive pair in the league, alongside Jones.