Zach Werenski has been thinking about this camp for a long time.
Unfortunately, he had to wait a few days before joining practice for real after a groin injury suffered in Traverse City, but he since received the "all clear" and he was a full participant in practice on Tuesday.
That means a scrimmage, skill drills and the vaunted skating tests. But for Werenski, it's all worth it.
"(The injury) was more of a precautionary thing," Werenski said. "Now I'm ready to go and ready to jump in."
He will make his Blue Jackets preseason debut on Thursday night against the Nashville Predators, a long-awaited moment for the player and the organization. Werenski, drafted eighth overall in 2015 out of the University of Michigan, was a decorated player for Red Berenson in only two years with the program.
He has served as captain of the U.S. World Junior team and the Blue Jackets rookie teams, as well.
There was a chance of playing a couple NHL games last spring when he left Michigan, but rather, Werenski wanted to join the Cleveland Monsters on their playoff run.
Not only did he join them, but the now 19-year-old defenseman was a key reason why the Blue Jackets' AHL affiliate now has the distinction of being a Calder Cup champion.
His next objective is to make the Blue Jackets.
"I just want to show them what I can do," Werenski said. "Ultimately, my goal is to make this team anad help the team. I think I can do that. Moving forward in camp, I'm going to go out there and play my game, and show them I'm here to stay."