By @StefanKubus –
It’s been a heck of a rookie campaign for Grosse Pointe Woods native Zach Werenski.
Now, he’s a finalist for the NHL’s Calder Trophy, awarded to the league’s top rookie, joining Toronto’s Auston Matthews (USA Hockey’s NTDP alum) and Winnipeg’s Patrik Laine.
In 78 games this season with his Columbus Blue Jackets, Werenski potted 11 goals and 47 points from the back end to help lead his team to the Stanley Cup Playoffs.
The 19-year-old rearguard broke the Blue Jackets’ franchise record for rookie scoring on March 10, surpassing Rick Nash’s 2002-03 mark of 40 points. He was also named the NHL’s rookie of the month in November.
Werenski, the eighth overall pick in the 2015 NHL Entry Draft, made the jump to pro hockey late last year after his sophomore season with the Michigan Wolverines came to an end.
With Lake Erie, he posted 14 points in 17 games to help lead his AHL squad to the Calder Cup before ultimately joining Columbus this season.
During his time in Ann Arbor, Werenski was named Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year in 2016. Prior to suiting up for Michigan, Werenski spent time with USA Hockey’s National Team Development Program.
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