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Get to Know Brendan Warren
Date of Birth: 05/07/1997
Place of Birth: Carelton, MI, USA
Ht: 6’0″ Wt: 192 lbs
Team: United States National U-18 Team (USHL)
Brendan Warren is yet another Michigan prospect who came through the Compuware and Belle Tire Bantam programs to join the USNTDP and despite being drafted by the OHL’s Windsor Spitfires, Warren is committed to the University of Michigan next fall where he is likely to join a loaded team full of NHL prospects.
Warren’s draft season was a bit of a tumultuous one as he came in as one of many highly ranked players on the US National U-18 team in the USHL and was put in a supporting role behind the big stars. Because of the limited role, his production can only be seen as modest.
Despite the lack of eye-popping production, Warren’s mid-season ranking was still very good, as CSS had him as the 34th ranked skater in North America. A weak second half saw him tumble all the way down to 66th in the final rankings and the industry consensus is that it probably took him out of contention for being a second round selection.
What Scouts See
The Michigan commit is one of the better two-way forwards in the age group and a player that continues to show an emerging offensive game. Warren has good size at 6-foot, 175lbs, and is an extremely smart player with a very strong understanding of the game. Much like Strome, Warren is at his best when he can handle the puck and slow the pace of the game down in the offensive zone.
A strong skater, Warren also projects as an effective shut-down centre capable of logging heavy minutes against the other team’s top line while still being a legitimate offensive threat.
Warren is a true north/south player who has a powerful skating stride, which catapults him up the ice in a hurry. Not much messing around for this future Michigan Wolverine as he plays a blue collar game with some offensive touch. Has a nose for the net and gets in quick on the forecheck to provide pressure. He isn’t a guy who wins every race with speed, but has the ability to get moving quickly and catch opponents if they are napping.
What BSN Avalanche sees
Warren is a talented role player with intriguing upside. He plays a simple game at a high level and doesn’t try to extend beyond his abilities, staying within himself at all times. He’s physical along the boards and seems to enjoy this style of play. Possesses a high hockey IQ, never looking overwhelmed by the speed of the game and always putting himself in the right positions. Warren is a decent skater with good balance and above-average speed, allowing him to get where he wants when he wants.
Warren’s hands are nothing special but they aren’t bad, either. Just very average across the board. Has a decent shot when he’s up close but his slow release is an issue. His shot isn’t all that accurate and is nothing special but he makes it work. His vision is average and playmaking skills are nothing to write home about so don’t expect to see a lot flashy plays.
His defensive game is very solid as he reads the play very well and is able to create turnovers with both his physical play and using his stick, either to disrupt passing lanes or pick the puck carrier’s pocket. He has decent size so he’s able to effectively play the physical side of the game but could stand to bulk up quite a bit more, but what prospect isn’t that true for?
Highlights (When it applies, otherwise don’t worry about it)
Warren was buried a bit on an extremely talented team but served his role well. Given a chance to see more ice, he could develop into a second line player on a weaker team but is better suited long-term to being a third line energy role player. On a deep team, he could become a very good fourth liner with the ability to chip in more points than expected from someone in that role.
Expected Draft Position
Warren’s draft rankings, like most others in this general area of the draft, vary pretty wildly as CSS has him as the 66th best North American skater, Future Considerations ranked him as the 117th best prospect, and Craig Button’s final rankings saw him ranked 68th overall. Given those rankings, it’s fair to say that Warren is a 3rd round and beyond prospect with an outside chance to sneak into the end of the second round if a team loves him.
How Prospect Fits in Avalanche Organization
Warren would fit the Avalanche simply because he’s a winger and the organization lacks quality wingers. The question is how much better Warren would be than current non-pro prospects like Julien Nantel, Alexis Pepin, and Nick Magyar? To my eyes, he’s not a significant leap over those guys, who all have warts of their own, and long-term Warren doesn’t project to be significantly better than current pro prospects like Borna Rendulic, Andrew Aggozino, Andreas Martinsen, and Trevor Cheek.
Because Warren is going the college route, he would be given more time to develop and the majority of the guys already in the organization will already have their futures decided upon by management when it comes time for the team to decide whether or not to offer Warren a pro contract, making him a smart mid-round draft-and-follow type of prospect.
I like Warren’s game and think he can be a talented bottom 6 forward but he doesn’t really fit the Avalanche trends of acquiring bigger and faster players to bolster their lineup. Despite that, if the Avs were to spend a 4th round pick on selecting Warren, I think they will enjoy the benefits of waiting on the feisty Warren for a few years.