The Wolverine

February 2016

The Wolverine: Covering University of Michigan Football and Sports

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BY MICHAEL SPATH W hen the rumors started that Zach Werenski was unhappy in Ann Arbor and was seeking to defect to the NHL, the sophomore defense- man was half a world away. Literally. Werenski was captaining Team USA at the World Junior Champion- ships in Finland during the Christmas season when talk emerged out of Co- lumbus — he was a 2015 first-round pick of the Blue Jackets — that he would exit the collegiate ranks upon his return to the United States Jan. 6. Whether the speculation began with overzealous reporters looking for a positive story to write or team officials looking for salvation amid a season in which Columbus sat last in the Eastern Conference with only 38 points through Jan. 18, it doesn't matter. Werenski is staying put at Michigan. "I haven't thought about anything but Michigan," he said. "When I was at World Juniors, my sole fo- cus was on helping Team USA win the tournament and then coming back here; my focus is on helping our team win every night, win the Big Ten and compete for a national championship. "I don't have a timeline for the NHL. I'm going with the flow and just enjoying it. It's been a ton of fun this year at Michigan and I'm not go- ing anywhere." For now. The 6-2, 218-pounder — who was the No. 8 overall selection last June after earning All-Big Ten first-team honors his rookie season ENJOY IT While It Lasts Destined For The NHL Soon, Sophomore Zach Werenski Is Michigan's Best Defenseman NHL Network analyst Dave Starman on Werenski "He has such a bright future in hockey. He's going to play in the NHL, and whether it's this year or next year or in two years, he's going to have a long stay, and I bet a successful career."

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