Kris Baker of SabresProspects.com has submitted his annual rankings of the top 30 draft-eligible prospects. Check back each day as we prepare for the 2015 NHL Draft at BB&T Center in Sunrise, Florida on June 26-27.
#11 - ZACH WERENSKI
|(Photo Credit: Getty Images) |
Defenseman, Michigan (Big Ten)
6’2”, 211 lbs.
Big and strong with loads of two-way NHL potential, Werenski proved his worth this past season as a 17-year freshman with an up-and-coming University of Michigan program, leading all Wolverines defenders with 25 points (9+16) to earn All Big Ten Hockey First Team and All-Big Ten Freshmen Team honors.
The decorated season was even more of an accomplishment when noting that Werenski will not turn 18 until July.
The developing left-hander is highly mobile in all directions, generating speed and power with a quick first step as he calmly executes at both ends. Offensively, Werenski dictates an up-tempo pace when carrying the puck. He is mature in his decision making, at times taking chances when room is given to him while rarely forcing a play.
On the defensive side, Werenski has a very developed game for such a young player. He’s a fast backwards skater who can quickly read and process what is coming at him. He has good awareness and positioning as he ties up sticks and guards against the back door.
Werenski, who developed with the United States National Team Development Program while accelerating his studies for an early college entry, was called for duty at the 2015 IIHF World Junior Championship, posting two points (1+1) and a plus-5 rating in five games.
For more on all the youngsters in the Sabres pipeline, check out Kris Baker’s website, SabresProspects.com. You can also follow him on Twitter (@SabresProspects) for in-game updates throughout the week on any Buffalo prospects that are in action.