Zach Werenski isn’t the most popular player on the Columbus Blue Jackets at the moment.
The Columbus Blue Jackets‘ Zach Werenski is a 21 year old defenseman. With that being said, he’s bound to make mistakes as he develops into a superstar defenseman in the NHL. The last thing Jarmo Kekalainen wants to do is make the mistake that the Minnesota Wild did with Brent Burns, who also was a young defenseman when he was traded to the San Jose Sharks.
Defensemen typically don’t reach their prime until later than forwards, and it’s rare for a defenseman at Werenski’s age to even be in the NHL let alone three seasons into their career.
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Offensive defensemen especially often take time to develop their defensive play, as up to this point, the offense was enough to earn them playing time.
Werenski offensively, hasn’t been bad at all. He’s still contributing in the offensive zone, however in the defensive zone and especially in transition it’s a different story. As a result, frustration is bound to ensue in an already fiery fan base who wants success as soon as possible.
Many people seem to forget Seth Jones‘ performance when he was 21, also known as his first half of a year in Columbus. Jones was a -9 in 41 games with the Jackets, the exact same number Werenski is at through 29 games. Plus/minus isn’t the most reliable stat, however Werenski has higher offensive production than Jones did in his first two season and two plus seasons already.
Werenski also played a majority of last season injured and as a result, it’ll take time for him to adjust back to being healthy assuming that he is in fact healthy. Statistically Werenski is much better than Jones was at the age of 21, yet people are already calling for his head. If Jones is a Norris contender three years later, imagine what Werenski could become.