Zach Werenski: Colorado Avalanche 2015 NHL Draft Profile


Avalanche draft profile: Zach Werenski

The 2014-15 season was unfortunately cut short for the Colorado Avalanche. That means that here at Mile High Sticking, we have a long off-season ahead of us. While the off-season is filled with all different kinds of articles, regarding the playoffs (that we are unfortunately not a part of), Avalanche season reviews, and many other things, it also gives us time to focus on the Colorado Avalanche 2015 NHL Draft.

With the Edmonton Oilers picking first overall once more, the Avalanche keep their tenth overall pick — at least until draft day. Not getting Canadian phenom Connor McDavid or his American equivalent Jack Eichel is sad. However, in a stacked draft like this one, there will be lots of talent still available by the time the Avs are on the clock.

That is why we will present you a series of profiles of players that are eligible for the 2015 NHL Draft. That includes players of every position, from North America as well as Europe. Not only do we focus on options for the tenth overall pick, but also on interesting players for the later rounds. There is no guarantee that these players will have themselves put on an Avalanche jersey on draft day. It is simply who we at Mile High Sticking believe could or should be targeted by the Colorado Avalanche. Enjoy!

View image |

Name: Zach Werenski

Position: Defenseman

Shoots: Left

Height, weight: 6’2”, 215 lbs

Team/League: University of Michigan, NCAA














Pro comparison: Jack Johnson

Risk, Reward: 1/5, 5/5

NHL-potential: First-pairing two-way defenseman

Draft Range: Top-10


Scouting report

More from Mile High Sticking

According to Elite Prospects, Zach Werenski is “a very strong all-around defenceman that consistently brings his game every night”. Despite starting the season as the NCAA’s youngest player, he looks extremely mature compared to his peers.

The 17-year old, who does not turn 18 until a week before the draft, plays a pressing offensive style. Werenski plays great breakout passes and likes to rush the puck into the offensive zone himself. He has very good senses and visibility and possesses a powerful stride, which helps him on the breakout.

When on the rush, Werenski knows how to get past his opponents with easy but effective moves. His puck-handling is above par for a defenseman. Despite overall being a very good player offensively, Werenski has some important weaknesses on offense as well.

According to McKeen’s Hockey, Zach Werenski “overextends himself at times and fails to properly let plays develop, and will force things”. Every once in a while you will see the 6-foot-2 defenseman forcing the big play, instead of going with the easy one. He needs to improve his offensive decision-making.

More from Avalanche News

Although he possesses a really large frame, Werenski is not exactly a physical defenseman. He needs to learn how to properly throw his body around. At 6-foot-2 and 215-pounds, he has the perfect size for a two-way defenseman.

When in his own end, Werenski sometimes “gravitates towards the puck and leaves the crease unprotected”, according to McKeen’s hockey. Furthermore, gap-control is “an area of development, struggling with his appreciation for time and space”, which will cause him to “fail to step up and take away prime routes to the net”.

Despite the defensive weaknesses, Zach Werenski is a great young defenseman that is, in my opinion, not far from Boston College’s Noah Hanifin. After some more time in college, he will develop into a great first-pairing defender.

Fit with the Avalanche

The Avalanche are desperate for a defenseman to partner Erik Johnson – or basically any defenseman that is better than Nate Guenin and Nick Holden. While Zach Werenski cannot be expected to jump right into the NHL having just turnt 18 a week before the draft, he can be expected to reach his ceiling to be a number one defenseman.

If Duncan Siemens, Chris Bigras, and Mason Geertsen all pan out, Werenski would have enough time to develop in college, before being added to a hopefully strong defense-corps in Colorado.

Next: Three Possible Draft Day Scenarios