COLUMBUS, OH – Columbus Blue Jackets defenseman Zach Werenski has been named the NHL’s Rookie of the Month for November, the club and league announced today. He is the fourth Jacket to earn the honor, joining left wing Rick Nash (November 2002), center Derick Brassard (October 2008) and goaltender Steve Mason (November and December 2008).
Werenski, 19, tallied three goals and seven assists for 10 points with 35 shots on goal, a +4 plus/minus rating and averaged 22:14 of ice time in 14 outings during the month of November. He led rookie defensemen and finished third-T among league rookies and fifth-T among all NHL defensemen in scoring in the month. He collected points in eight of the contests, scoring his first career overtime game-winning goal in a 3-2 win vs. Anaheim on Nov. 9, assisting on the overtime game-winner to beat Dallas 3-2 on November 1, scoring the tying goal in the third period of a 2-1 OT win vs. Washington on November 15 and set up the tying goal at 19:53 of the third period in a 3-2 OT loss vs. Colorado on November 21. He edged Pittsburgh goaltender Matt Murray (7-2-0, 2.02 goals-against average and .929 save percentage), Toronto center Mitchell Marner (6-7-13 in 14 games), Winnipeg right wing Patrik Laine (7-4-11 in 16 games), Colorado right wing Mikko Rantanen (3-7-10 in 14 games) and NY Rangers defenseman Brady Skjei (0-0-9 in 15 games) for the award.
The Grosse Pointe, Michigan native has posted 5-11-16 with four penalty minutes, a +4 plus/minus rating and has averaged 22:06 in his first 21 career NHL games. He ranks sixth among NHL blueliners and fourth-T among league rookies in scoring. He began his NHL career with a four-game point streak (2-3-5), including collecting an assist in his NHL debut on October 13 vs. Boston and a goal a game later on October 15 vs. San Jose. The defenseman also became the first player since Chicago’s Jonathan Toews in 2007 to begin his NHL career with points in each of his first eight home games (5-7-12).
Columbus’ first round pick, eighth overall, in the 2015 NHL Draft, Werenski made his professional debut with the Lake Erie Monsters at the end of the 2015-16 regular season and helped the club capture the Calder Cup after setting AHL records for assists and points by an 18-year old in a single playoff with 5-9-14 in 17 contests. Prior to turning pro, he notched 20-41-61 with 28 penalty minutes and was +14 in two seasons at the University of Michigan (2014-16), including 11-24-35 with 20 penalty minutes in 2015-16.