Columbus Blue Jackets News: Defenseman Zach Werenski put on IR, David Jiricek recalled

By Melville Van Buren

Werenski suffered a quad contusion in last night’s season opener against Philadelphia and is expected to miss one-to-two weeks

Zach Werenski CBJ Defenseman against Boston in preseason 10 6 20216 (courtesy IMAGN, photo by Aaron Doster of USA Today Sports)

The Columbus Blue Jackets have placed defenseman Zach Werenski on Injured Reserve and recalled defenseman David Jiricek from the Cleveland Monsters, the team’s American Hockey League affiliate, General Manager Jarmo Kekalainen announced today.

Werenski, 26, suffered a quad contusion in last night’s season opener against the Philadelphia Flyers and is expected to miss one-to-two weeks.  The 6-2, 213-pound defenseman has posted 79 goals and 166 assists for 245 points with 93 penalty minutes, 18 power play goals and 1,087 shots on goal, while averaging 23:12 of ice time in 417 career games with the Blue Jackets since making his NHL debut in 2016-17.  He collected 3-5-8 in 13 contests with the club in 2022-23 before missing the last 69 games of the season due to a shoulder injury.  A native of Grosse Pointe, Michigan, Werenski was selected eighth overall by the Blue Jackets in the 2015 NHL Draft.

Jiricek, 19, made his NHL debut with the Blue Jackets in 2022-23, collecting two penalty minutes and five shots on goal, while averaging 18:04 of ice time in four contests.  At 18-years-old, 344-days, he became the second-youngest defenseman to make his NHL debut in club history on October 28 vs. Boston (Klesla; 18-years, 200-days on Oct. 7, 2000 vs. Chicago).  He was named to the AHL’s Top Prospect Team in 2022-23 after leading league rookie blueliners in points-per-game (0.69; min. 15 GP) and ranking second-T in assists and third in points with 6-32-38 in 55 games with the Monsters.

The Klatovy, Czech Republic native registered 8-12-20 and 85 penalty minutes in 67 career games with HC Plzen in the Czechia league from 2020-22.  He has represented Czechia in numerous international tournaments, including being named the Best Defenseman and to the All-Star Team after helping the country win a silver medal at the 2023 IIHF World Junior Championships with 3-4-7 in seven contests.  The 6-4, 207-pound blueliner was selected by the Blue Jackets sixth overall at the 2022 NHL Draft.