Blue Jackets All-Star Zach Werenski Placed on IR

Columbus Blue Jackets defenseman Zach Werenski. Photo by Eric Canha/CSM/Shutterstock

The Columbus Blue Jackets will have to power through the next few weeks without arguably their best player on defense.

The team announced over the weekend that All-Star defenseman Zach Werenski is dealing with a lower-body injury and has been placed on the injured reserve list. The Blue Jackets expect the 23-year-old star to be out between one to two weeks.

Werenski was initially hurt last week in Columbus’ 4-3 win over the Dallas Stars. He exited the game in the fourth quarter after a hit from the Stars’ Alexander Radulov and didn’t return to the ice after that.

Zach Werenski has been one of the Blue Jackets’ most prominent stars in recent years, recording 41 plus points in consecutive seasons. He was especially productive during the 2019-20 NHL campaign, leading all defensemen in scoring with 20 goals. This was also Columbus’ single-season franchise record for a defenseman.

Werenski had a slower start of 2020-21 than expected and is currently on one goal and three assists in 12 games.

In Werenski’s absence, Blue Jackets head coach John Tortorella is expected to rely on veteran Dean Kukan, who will be paired with Seth Jone as the first defense. Kukan has played 13 games this season, recording four points.