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2019 NHL Draft prospect profile: Marshall Warren stands out with his scoring instincts

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The blue-liner is heading to Boston College next season where he’ll add to his already promising tool set.

Rena Laverty/USA Hockey

Marshall Warren is part of an intriguing squad of defencemen in the under-18 US National Team Development Program this year. In this 2019 class, there is no Bode Wilde who dazzled with his skill, or K’Andre Miller who was a force away from the puck, but still the program is known for putting out solid defensive talents that continue to grow in the NCAA years after the draft.

Birthplace: Laurel Hollow, NY, USA
Shoots: Left
Position: Defence
Height: 5’11”
Weight: 168 lbs.
Team: U.S National U18 team

Warren is currently middle of the pack in points for the program this year, producing around 0.60 point-per-game, but he stands out with his scoring instinct on the USNTDP blue line.

EliteProspects

He scored his goals this season by being an option off the rush. Jumping up with his teammates to receive the puck as the trailing option, giving him an occasion to skate up to the top of the slot and wire a shot in.

Warren’s shot is his best offensive weapon. He has a precise snapped release that he uses to beat goaltenders while they are masked by traffic. In the same way he finds occasions coming late behind his forwards as they enter the zone, Warren loves to jump from the blue line in the offensive zone as a weak-side option.

When his teammates are grouped on the other side of the ice, Warren finds the seam and sets up for the backdoor play, anticipating that his talented forwards will be able to feed him the puck and enable him to deflect or shoot it in with a catch-and-release.

Marshall wears #10 with the USNTDP

Warren is also a good skater. He doesn’t blow past opponents, but he can rush the puck when he is given a chance. In the sequence below, he first takes possession in his zone and passes it in between the blue lines to push back the defence and gain the offensive zone for his team. As the puck ends up on the back wall, he is first on it to rim it around and keep it in possession of his team.

A few moments later, he carries the puck up a second time, even positioning himself as a shooting option high in the opposing end after entry.

The defenceman’s best defensive sequences are when he is competing for possession. He is strong for his size and resists pressure very well when one-on-one. Even against NCAA opponents, which the under-18 program faces a lot of during their season, Warren could displace players that are older and bigger than him to get to the puck and feed it to teammates. This will be promising for his game in a few years when he adds to his frame.

Where Warren could improve defensively, is in his defence off the rush. He is either too aggressive with his gap (more often than not) or too lose. This causes him to scramble to hit a pokecheck after an early pivot as he crosses the defensive blue line, or dart forward to close the room given to an opposing forward and exposing himself to dangles. This is where the long practice time of NCAA formations could help him the most next year.

From Mitch Brown’s tracking project

The advanced stats paint him as an offensive threat. He passes the puck, but remains more of an offensive-zone canon. Contrary to many new-generation defencemen, he puts up a high volume of shots and doesn’t hesitate to one-time the puck.

It also seems like Warren is not one of the main puck-movers in the defensive zone on the USNTDP. He could attempt controlled exits at a higher rate, which would play into the offensive side of his game.

Rankings (not all rankings are final)

Future Considerations: #39
ISS Hockey: #30
McKeen’s: #20
NHL Central Scouting: #61 (39 at mid-term) (NA Skaters)

Warren will join Boston College next season, where he should spend at least a couple of years — unless he shows rapid growth in his game. He is a prospect with interesting tools that will likely go in the second or third round of the draft to a team looking to add offence from the back end.