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Road to the NHL Draft: Zachary Werenski

Position: Defenseman.

NCAA team: Michigan.

Born: Grosse Pointe, Mich.

Measurables: 6-foot-2, 206 pounds.

2014-15 stats: 35 games, nine goals, 16 assists, 25 points.

Central Scouting rank: No. 9 (North America).

Lowdown: After graduating from high school a year early, the 17-year-old Werenski enrolled at Michigan and became the youngest player since Red Berenson took over the program in 1984. Werenski doesn’t turn 18 until July, yet he was the Wolverines’ top defender and is in the running for best blue-liner in the draft behind Boston College standout Noah Hanifin.

Werenski quickly made scouts forget how young he is, adjusting to the college level in a hurry. He possesses a two-way game but gets kudos for his offensive skills. He led the Michigan blue-liners in points while being named All-Big 10 First Team. He’s said the biggest boost to his confidence came at the world juniors, when he had two points and was plus-5 for the United States.

While he has the size to hit unsuspecting opponents, he doesn’t make checking the focal point of his game. Scouts say he doesn’t have much of a “wow” factor that draws attention, but close observations show he simply does things right during the game.

They said it: “He’s such a cool, calm and collected player. He’s smart, always in the right spot, moves the puck and makes all the right plays.”– Greg Rajanen of NHL Central Scouting.

– John Vogl

The Buffalo News is profiling 30 prospects in 30 days leading up to the NHL Draft, which will be held June 26-27.

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