Zach Werenski is expected to sign a contract with the Columbus Blue Jackets before the start of training camp in September, general manager Jarmo Kekalainen told The Athletic on Wednesday.
"We really appreciate him as a player," Kekalainen said of the 22-year-old restricted free agent defenseman. "We want him to be a big part of our team and become a leader. He's a great teammate and a good person. I'm confident that everything will get done and that he wants to be part of the team right from the start [of training camp]."
Werenski had 44 points (11 goals, 33 points) in 82 games last season, and six points (one goal, five assists) in 10 Stanley Cup Playoff games.
Selected by the Blue Jackets with the No. 8 pick in the 2015 NHL Draft, Werenski has 128 points (38 goals, 90 assists) in 237 regular-season games.