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If Zach Werenski has any questions about Friday's NHL draft, where he's expected to be selected early, he can always ask his Michigan roommate.

Dylan Larkin, after all, was a first-round pick last year (Red Wings).

"He said to just enjoy it as much as you can," said Werenski, a defenseman from Grosse Pointe Woods with size (6-foot-2, 210-pounds) and offensive instinct. "It's always good to talk to someone who has gone through something like this before."

Werenski and Larkin, a Waterford native, were teammates as young teens, on the USA Hockey National Team Development Program and again at Michigan.

But their chances of reuniting are unlikely since Werenski probably will be gone by the time the Red Wings pick at No. 19. Most mock drafts have Werenski going anywhere from seven to 11, although it's likely he will return to Michigan for more seasoning.

"It's going to be exciting," said Werenski, who went to Grosse Pointe North before graduating from Ann Arbor Pioneer. "I've been watching the draft the last three or four years and wondering what it would be like."

At 17, Werenski is one of three college freshmen expected to be drafted in the first round, joining Jack Eichel (Boston University) and Noah Hanifin (Boston College).

He led Michigan defensemen last season with 25 (nine goals) in 35 games. He also had 12 power-play points and a plus-9 rating to earn all-Big Ten and all-Big Ten freshman honors.

"He's such a cool, calm and collected player," NHL Central Scouting's Greg Rajanen said. "He's the type of player you have to watch a little closely to realize how good he is. He's smart, always in the right spot, moves the puck and makes all the plays.

"At the next level, Werenski will be a really a good player who will produce points and be solid defensively."

Werenski grew up a Red Wings fan, and looked at Nicklas Lidstrom's game as a standard.

"I loved the way he played," Werenski said. "He wasn't the biggest guy on the ice, he didn't have the longest stick, but he always made the right play and was always in the right spot.

"For any young defenseman, Nick Lidstrom is a good role model."

ted.kulfan@detroitnews.com

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On the clock

A look at some local players who could be drafted this weekend:

Nick Boka, D

The 6-foot, 196-pounder from Plymouth is projected to go past the fourth round. An aggressive defender whose offense is coming along.

Kyle Connor, F

The 6-1, 177-pounder from Shelby Township who led the United States Hockey League with 80 points is expected to go mid-first round.

Cooper Marody, F

The 6-foot, 176-pounder from Brighton who scored 22 goals in the USHL is projected as a second-rounder.

Brendan Warren, F

The 6-foot, 192-pounder from Carleton who had 19 goals in the USA Hockey National Team Development Program could go in the second round.

Zach Werenski, D

The 6-2, 215-pounder from Grosse Pointe Woods is being compared to Jack Johnson and Jacob Trouba. He's a catch.

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