Defenseman Zachary Werensky, an A-rated prospect on NHL Central Scouting's preliminary players to watch list for the 2015 NHL Draft, will become the youngest player to play at the University of Michigan in the Red Berenson era on Saturday when the Wolverines visit Ferris State at Ewigleben Arena in Big Rapids, Mich.
Werenski, 17, accelerated his studies in high school in order to graduate after three years and join Berenson as a true freshman this season. The 6-foot-2, 214-pound left-handed shot will join a pretty formidable defensive corps that includes NHL draftees Michael Downing (Florida Panthers), Brennan Serville (Winnipeg Jets) and Nolan De Jong (Minnesota Wild).
Berenson enters his 31st season behind the bench at Michigan.
"He's been around forever, it seems like," Werensky told United States College Hockey Online. "He's a great coach and has won so many games. You hear about him so much, being from Michigan. When you talk about college hockey, [he's] the first thing that comes to my mind. And now I'm going to get to play for him. It's just an honor."
Werenski was a standout defenseman for the U.S. Under-17 National Team Development Program in 2013-14 and finished second among defensemen in scoring with 27 points (seven goals, 20 assists) in 47 games. He played in the 2014 CCM/USA Hockey All-American Prospects Game on Sept. 25 at First Niagara Center in Buffalo.
Michigan was ranked No. 7 in USA Today's preseason poll, and Ferris State is No. 10.