Columbus Blue Jackets defenseman Zach Werenski has been named the National Hockey League’s Third Star for the week ending January 5, the league and club announced today. Colorado Avalanche center Nathan MacKinnon was named the First Star, while Winnipeg Jets center Mark Scheifele was selected as the Second Star.
Werenski, 22, led the Blue Jackets to a 2-1-0 mark, leading the league in goals with 5-0-5, 13 shots on goal and a +5 plus/minus rating, while averaging 25:03 TOI in three outings last week. He became the third defenseman in club history to collect a hat trick (Deron Quint-Mar. 9, 2001 and Bryan Berard-Jan. 8, 2006) when he scored three times, fired off six shots and was +3 on 22:00 TOI in a 4-1 win over Florida on December 31. After logging 27:00 in a 2-1 overtime win at Boston on January 2, he scored both Jackets’ goals on five shots and was +2 on 26:10 TOI in a 3-2 loss vs. San Jose on January 4.
The Grosse Pointe, Michigan native has racked up 10-9-19 and a +11 plus/minus rating in 19 appearances since November 9, including 7-2-9 in his past eight games since December 19. He leads league blueliners in shooting percentage (14.1) and ranks second-T in goals with 13-12-25 as well as eight penalty minutes and a +3 plus/minus rating in 35 games in 2019-20. Columbus’ first round pick, eighth overall, at the 2015 NHL Draft, Werenski is the third U.S.-born defenseman in NHL history to record double digit goals in each of his first four or more campaigns to begin his NHL career. He has notched 51-102-153, 56 penalty minutes and a +16 plus/minus rating in 272 career contests.
The Blue Jackets return to action tonight when they visit the Los Angeles Kings. Game time from STAPLES Center is 10:30 p.m. ET. The game will be broadcast live on FOX Sports Ohio and the FOX Sports Go app. Coverage begins at 10 p.m. with the “Blue Jackets Live” pre-game show. The game will also be broadcast on the Eldorado Gaming Scioto Downs Blue Jackets Radio Network, including Sports Radio 97.1 The Fan.