The Columbus Blue Jackets have signed defenseman Zach Werenski to a three-year entry level contract beginning with the 2016-17 season.
Werenski, who earlier signed an American Hockey League tryout contract with Cleveland's Lake Erie Monsters, will remain with the Blue Jackets' affiliate for the rest of the 2015-16 season.
The 18-year-old was the eighth overall pick in last summer's NHL Draft.
He registered 11 goals and 25 assists for 36 points with 20 penalty minutes and a +5 plus/minus rating in 36 games at the University of Michigan this season.
The sophomore led all Big Ten and was second nationally in scoring by a defenseman, was named the Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year and a First Team All-Big Ten selection and led the Wolverines to the Big Ten tournament title and a berth in the NCAA tournament. He also served as captain of bronze medal-winning Team USA at the 2016 IIHF World Junior Championships, tallying 2-7-9 in seven games and earning the Directorate Award as the tournamentís top defenseman.