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Werenski named to All-Star Game roster, replacing Jones for Blue Jackets

Defenseman added to Metropolitan Division team for ill teammate

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Columbus Blue Jackets defenseman Zach Werenski was added to the Metropolitan Division roster Friday for the 2018 Honda NHL All-Star Game at Amalie Arena in Tampa on Sunday (3:30 p.m. ET; NBC, CBC, SN, TVA Sports).

Werenski replaces Blue Jackets defenseman Seth Jones, who is unavailable because of an illness.

"It's kind of bittersweet, because I know Seth deserves to be here," Werenski told The Athletic. "This is Seth's spot. He's the all-star. I'm just kind of filling in for him.

"At the same time, I'm really excited to be here. It's something I might not ever do again. Hopefully, I get to do it again in the future, but, no matter what happens, I can always say I played in the All-Star Game. I think it's gonna be a blast this weekend."

Werenski is second among NHL defensemen with 11 goals, one behind P.K. Subban of the Nashville Predators.

The 20-year-old also will take part in the 2018 GEICO NHL All-Star Skills Competition on Saturday (7 p.m. ET; NBCSN, CBC, SN, TVA Sports).

"They had me slotted in to do the hardest shot because Jones wasn't here, and that's his category," Werenski told the website. "I told them no chance I do the hardest shot, because I have a weak shot. So we'll see what I'm doing tomorrow. It should be pretty interesting."

Jones will be eligible to play Tuesday against the Minnesota Wild in Columbus' first game after the All-Star break. A player usually has to miss either the game before or the game after the break if he does not attend the All-Star Game after being selected. Jones played 24:53 in a 2-1 win against the Arizona Coyotes on Thursday.

"He was fired up for it. The year he's having … like I [said] the other day, he should be up for the Norris Trophy. That's how good a year he's having," Werenski said. "It just [stinks], the timing of this, but he's one of the biggest pieces we have and he wants to be healthy for this push we're going to make."

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