Image: Rena Laverty/USA Hockey

2019 NHL Draft Prospect Profile: Marshall Warren

With a stacked U.S. National Team Development Program crop this year, many of the squad’s players have been overshadowed both in terms of opportunity and fanfare.

Today, we look at Marshall Warren — an aggressive puck rushing defenceman that can contribute offensively from the blueline.

Bio

  • Age/Birthdate: 18 / April 20, 2001
  • Birthplace: Laurel Hollow, New York, USA
  • Frame: 5-foot-11 / 168 lbs
  • Position: Defence
  • Handedness: Left
  • Draft Year Team: U.S. National Team Development Program
  • Accolades:
    • 2015-16
      • AYBHL Most Points by Defenseman (37)
    • 2016-17
      • AYHL 16U (National) All-American Defenseman
      • AYHL 16U (National) Champion
      • T1EHL U16 Most Points by Defenseman (28)
    • 2017-18
      • U17 WHC Gold Medal
    • 2018-19
      • U18 WJC Bronze Medal

2018-19 Stat Rundown

GP G A P INV% 5v5 Pr INV% 5v5 ePr60 SEAL Sh/GP Sh% 5v5 eTOI GF% GF%rel GD60 rel XLS% Top XLS% XPR
58 8 26 34 10% 10% 1.87 0.68 1.77 8% 11.8 77.2% 14.1% 2.14 16% 8% 26.6

(Editor’s note on the stats and charts in this article: the U.S. National Team Development Program is a unique program in that its roster plays in several different leagues over the course of the season. Typically, we’ve just used their stats against USHL competition. However, this year their NCAA stats have also been incorporated in some circumstances.

Games played, goals, assists, points and shot data include all U.S. NTDP games. Any data derived from game sheets (involvement percentage, eP60, SEAL data, and on-ice data), as well as any charts that reference “USDP” as the league refer to U.S. NTDP games against both USHL and NCAA competition. pGPS data is based off of USHL games alone.)

Scouting Report

Warren’s game resembles that of a fourth forward or rover more than it does a traditional rearguard. His skating is built in the mold of the modern-day defenceman with a smooth stride and crossovers that generate above-average speed, although he won’t blow by players with his pace.

The 18-year-old American relies on these tools to consistently carry the puck out with his feet and through the neutral zone to lead entries into the offensive zone. He doesn’t have the hands or vision to consistently create high danger scoring chances for himself or his teammates off these rushes, but there’s no denying he can get your team from Point A to B.

Even if he’s not the one carrying the puck himself, Warren takes any and all opportunities to involve himself in the transitional counterattack — very regularly jumping into the rush through either the center lane driving towards the net or as the shooting option as the late trailer. Between his attacks up ice with and without the puck, it’s not uncommon to see Warren as the first or second player from his team chasing the puck into the offensive zone.

Unfortunately, this all out approach has its drawbacks too. Other players on the ice have to be very wary to cover for Warren positionally because he’ll often get caught high in the play. As Warren graduates to higher levels of hockey, he’ll need to display much better situational awareness in picking his spots for when to push up the ice because there are already far too many instances where he’s out of position following his team’s loss of possession in the neutral or offensive zone. For now, he can get away with a lot of it because of his plus skating and recovery ability, but the margin for error will become a lot slimmer in professional hockey.

Staying high in the play also means he’s rarely the first man back on puck retrievals, meaning less time and space on breakouts. Warren excels in exiting the zone when he’s afforded room to lug the puck out, but when that option is unavailable, his outlet passes can be a mixed bag with a few too many situations where he forces a pass through the middle of the ice that gets lost in neutral zone traffic.

Warren performs well in the offensive zone — showing the ability to make smart passes to the high slot or down low from the blueline instead of forcing low percentage shots from the point. He moves well laterally walking the line across but isn’t dynamic or dangerous in this regard. Shooting wise, Warren usually resorts to a quick release snapper that is accurate, although not particularly powerful.

Defensively, Warren has many areas for future improvement. The most glaring issue is the way he defends the rush. Warren has a tendency to pivot far too early and open his body which leaves him susceptible to getting beat on the inside by skilled attackers.

Moreover, Warren lacks the defensive instincts to hold himself in the right position in the neutral zone following broken plays. You can witness that couple with his aforementioned early pivots to paint a rather grim defensive picture.

In the clip above, you can see that after attempting an outlet pass that Warren has ample time to read, react and adjust himself defensively as Maine establishes neutral zone puck possession. Warren’s positioning as the puck carrier attacks the middle of the ice is the exact opposite of what you’d like to see and speaks volumes to the concerns I have with his ability to process the developing play.

Instead of being square to the puck carrier with a tight gap, Warren’s facing the wrong way which leads to him getting turned and beat through the middle of the ice for a high danger chance.

In the defensive zone, Warren’s anticipation and awareness once again leave a fair amount to be desired. There aren’t too many obviously fatal defensive lapses, but he has a tendency to become fixated on the puck as the weakside defender which can often leave poor coverage for off the puck players.

Analysis

With just 34 points in 58 USDP games, Warren’s offensive production might seem disappointing at first glance, but context is critical as he didn’t receive a lot of power-play time on a stacked squad. As you can see in the graphic below, almost all his production came at 5-on-5.

Moreover, despite his inconsistent two-way performances, Warren still showed with an extremely strong on-ice goal share.

It’s difficult to discern how much of that is driven by Warren himself given that the USDP was a powerhouse in addition to the variability of goal metrics, but it bodes well that he had a positive relative impact on most of his teammates.

When using the Prospect Graduation Probabilities System, we can see that just 15.7 percent of Warren’t historical comparables went on to become NHLers.

There’s no doubt that Warren will be a longer-term project and it wouldn’t surprise me to see him play out a full four years with Boston College in the NCAA. He has some enticing physical tools and offensive pop but needs a lot of refinement and maturation for his game to effectively translate to the highest level.

Additional Charts

Rolling Season Data

Team Relative

Cohort Based

Adjusted Scoring

Sources

Raw data for the charts used in this article came from eliteprospects.com and ushl.com and collegehockeyinc.com.

Some clips were pulled from videos from prospectshifts.com. Check out Marshall Warren’s page here (paywall). Other clips were pulled from original broadcasts, with all rights reserved for the original broadcast companies.