Columbus Blue Jackets 2023-24 player review, Zach Werenski had a terrific season

Having missed a majority of the previous season with an injury, there was high hope that the return of Zach Werenski would be a major boost for the Blue Jackets. While the overall defense was mildly improved, Werenski had a very good season for the Blue Jackets.
Colorado Avalanche v Columbus Blue Jackets
Colorado Avalanche v Columbus Blue Jackets / Jason Mowry/GettyImages

Since his rookie season back in 2016-2017, Zach Werenski has been a mainstay on the Blue Jackets top pairing. He's been the go-to defenseman for the Blue Jackets, playing in all situations.

This season was no different. The defense was atrocious in 2022-2023, partly due to the absence of Werenski. The hope by management that his return from injury would significantly improve the team defense.

Werenski turned in another good season for the Blue Jackets in 2023-2024. He was the #1 defenseman on the team. He played the point man on the 1st power play unit, he was on the top penalty killing unit, and he was thrust in all situations for the team.

He played just as the team had envisioned that he would. Werenski’s play was so good that he tied a franchise record for points by a defenseman in a season. He scored 57 points (second on the entire team), which was a personal best for Werenski.

Unfortunately for the Blue Jackets, the overall defense was not significantly better with Werenski in the lineup. Outside of his play, the team really struggled defensively. The number of injuries that were sustained really exposed the lack of depth at the NHL level for the team.

One positive for Werenski this season was his ability to stay healthy. He played in 70 of the 82 games and only suffered minor injuries during the season. In the home opener against the Philadelphia Flyers, there was worry that he may have suffered another long-term injury.

Werenski took a hard hit behind the net, and it appeared as though he had suffered a knee injury. You could hear a pin drop in Nationwide Arena, as the 5th line was on edge as to his status. Luckily for him and the CBJ, he only missed a couple games and returned to action shortly after.

Werenski has four years remaining on his contract at $9.583 million AAV. He one of the faces of this franchise and is the best defenseman on the team. He will be with this franchise for many more years and, with a little luck, almost the entirety of his playing career. GM Don Waddell is lucky to have a #1 defenseman in place already.

Zach Werenski 2023-2024 grade:. A. Final season stats: 70 games played, 11 goals, 46 assists, 57 points, 16 PIM, 0, 202 shots on goal. . Zach Werenski 2023-2024 grade:

Werenski bounced back from the injury that kept him out of most of last season. He tied for the franchise record in points by a defenseman in a single season and was one of the better players for the CBJ this season. He gets an A from us.