Defenseman Zach Werenski signed a massive six-year extension with the Columbus Blue Jackets carrying a $9.583 million per season salary. It’s more than what Seth Jones signed for in Chicago or what Dougie Hamilton signed for in New Jersey. He’s a solid defenseman, but many are calling this a “please stay in Columbus tax.”
Weresnki said of the deal, “It was really a no-brainer. I’m a Blue Jacket. I want to continue to be a Blue Jacket and do everything I can to bring a Stanley Cup here.”
As Chris Johnston notes, the top AAV’s for NHL blueliners in 2022-23 are as follows:
- $11.5M — Erik Karlsson
- $11M — Drew Doughty
- *$9.583M — Zach Werenski
- *$9.5M — Seth Jones
- $9.059 — Roman Josi
- *$9M — Dougie Hamilton
- *$9M — Cale Makar
- $8.8M — Alex Pietrangelo
- *$8.45M — Miro Heiskanen
Essentially, Werenski is being paid as though he’s the third-best NHL defenseman. He is a quality offensive defenceman who scores a lot of goals. That said, it’s hard to argue he’s even close to the third-best defenseman in the league. He can be dangerous and productive at times, while having a strong transition game. Still, this is a big overpayment.
In his defense, Werenski has played 335 games and recorded 65 goals and 189 points. Few defensemen can boast those kinds of numbers. He played a career-high 24:22 time on ice per game this year.
The idea here is that the Blue Jackets send a message that there is a very talented player eager to stick with the team. While some will say the money is the reason, Werenski has demonstrated a willingness to stick to the hockey club, especially since his deal has trade protection worked in.
The breakdown is as follows:
2022-23: $2MM SB, $8MM salary
2023-24: $2MM SB, $10MM salary
2024-25: $2MM SB, $9.5MM salary
2025-26: $2MM SB, $7.5MM salary
2026-27: $6.25MM SB, $1MM salary
2027-28: $6.25MM SB, $1MM salary
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