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2015 NHL Draft – Focus on Zach Werenski – Michigan

Sean Lafortune scouted some highly-anticipated US 2015 Draft Prospects this past weekend. The atmosphere in the arena was outstanding with multiple scouts from seemingly every NHL team. Zach Werenski figured in both goals in a 3-2 loss, both of them on the powerplay. Here is Sean's scouting report. 

Werenski_Zach5ZachWerenski (2015), D, Michigan, (NCAA)

A slick, mobile defender who plays a pressing offensive style. Accelerated his schooling in order to attend the University of Michigan as a 17-year old, which is a rarity. Already seeing prime ice time, including top powerplay minutes and a regular top four shift with Florida Panthers prospect Michael Downing. Strong puck handler and a resourceful, heads up puck mover. Eats up the ice with an effortless and powerful stride. Boasts clever one on one feints plus a natural ability to escape. Senses how to create time and space to feed the breakout with smart outlet plays. Fuels quick transitions when sticking to a simple play on attack. Overextends himself at times and fails to properly let plays develop, and will force things. Always eager to bolt into the rush, acting as a third man high. Will need to learn to be more sensibly when on the attack, showing an ability to operate into the teams system. Not overly big or hostile, but brings a fairly steady compete level, needing to increase it with more aggression in puck battles. Loses structure defending, gravitates towards the puck and leaves the crease unprotected. Gaps are an area of development, struggling with his appreciation for time and space, will fail to step up and take away prime routes to the net. Despite that, he does show impressive tools and should adapt his game once he has a better feel for the speed of the NCAA. Possesses all the tools that you look for in a top four offensive defender at the next level, one who has the tools to positively impact the powerplay while managing the puck smartly in all four zones. Enjoyed some impressive early success at Michigan despite some issues. Owns the ability and pedigree to make some slight improvements in his game-reading ability and makes adjustments to the speed at this level.