Blue Jackets Re-sign Werenski
The NHL Network’s Kevin Weekes reports the Columbus Blue Jackets re-signed defenseman Zach Werenski to a three-year, $15-million contract. Weekes’ report is corroborated by Aaron Portzline, The Athletic’s Blue Jackets’ beat writer.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Cap Friendly indicates Werenski’s annual average value will be $5 million, putting him just below defense partner Seth Jones’ $5.4 million AAV. Both contracts will expire at the end of 2021-22, with Jones slated to become an unrestricted free agent while Werenski will be a restricted free agent with arbitration rights.
I’m not surprised that Werenski accepted this deal. Reports emerged several weeks ago claiming the 22-year-old blueliner wanted to be re-signed before training camp opened. There was speculation he would accept less than Jones, who is the Jackets’ best all-around rearguard as well as their highest-paid.
Werenski is getting a healthy pay increase from the $1.775-million AAV (bonuses included) of his entry-level contract. Should the skilled puck-moving defenseman continue to improve, he can seek much more from the Jackets by 2022.
Werenski’s new deal could affect fellow RFA blueliners like Boston’s Charlie McAvoy and Philadelphia’s Ivan Provorov. The latter was reportedly seeking $8 million per season but the Flyers could use Werenski as a comparable.