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Werenski intends to sign with Blue Jackets before training camp: report

Defenseman, who is restricted free agent, had 44 points last season @NHLdotcom

Zach Werenski is expected to sign a contract with the Columbus Blue Jackets before the start of training camp in September, his agent told The Columbus Dispatch on Tuesday.

"I have been in communication with the [Blue Jackets] throughout the summer," Pat Brisson said. "It's our intention to have an agreement in time for camp. I'm most certain we will be continuing our talks in the near future."

The 22-year-old defenseman, who is a restricted free agent, had 44 points (11 goals, 33 points) in 82 regular-season games last season and six points (one goal, five assists) in 10 Stanley Cup Playoff games, helping Columbus sweep the Tampa Bay Lightning in the Eastern Conference First Round to win a playoff series for the first time.

"I'm not the least bit worried," Columbus general manager Jarmo Kekalainen said. "He's a good player. We like him. We want to give him a fair contract and continue. We're not the least bit worried."

Selected by the Blue Jackets with the No. 8 pick in the 2015 NHL Draft, Werenski has 128 points (38 goals, 90 assists) in 237 regular-season games and 10 points (three goals, seven assists) in 19 playoff games.

Video: 31 in 31: Columbus Blue Jackets 2019-20 preview

He is one of several high-profile restricted free agents remaining in the NHL. Among them are forwards Mitchell Marner (Toronto Maple Leafs), Brayden Point (Lightning), Mikko Rantanen (Colorado Avalanche), Patrik Laine (Winnipeg Jets), Matthew Tkachuk (Calgary Flames), Brock Boeser (Vancouver Canucks), and defensemen Charlie McAvoy (Boston Bruins) and Ivan Provorov (Philadelphia Flyers).

Sebastian Aho signed a five-year, $42.27 million offer sheet with the Montreal Canadiens on July 1, but the Carolina Hurricanes matched it six days later.

"Have you seen all the restricted free agents and the contracts that have come in so far?" Kekalainen said. "Sebastian Aho is the only one, basically, out of the big boys, and he had an offer sheet."

Columbus opens the preseason against the Buffalo Sabres on Sept. 17, and the regular season against Toronto on Oct. 4.

Tweet from @BrianHedger: #CBJ GM Jarmo Kekalainen: ���We want to give him a fair contract and continue. We���re not the least bit worried.��� Agent Pat Brisson: ���It���s our intention to have an agreement in time for camp.���The latest on RFA D Zach Werenski plus Bill Zito staying put.

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