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Warren out to reward Wild, prove critics wrong

Defenseman prospect has chip on shoulder after being drafted lower than expected in sixth round

by Mike G. Morreale @mikemorrealeNHL / NHL.com Staff Writer

PLYMOUTH, Mich. -- Marshall Warren is hoping to prove his skeptics wrong.

The defenseman was the last of a record 17 players selected from the USA Hockey National Team Development Program Under-18 team when picked in the sixth round (No. 166) of the 2019 NHL Draft by the Minnesota Wild.

Now he's hoping to make an impression and continue his development as a top-four defenseman at Boston College this year before one day earning an opportunity in the NHL. 

 

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Warren (5-foot-11, 170-pounds) was invited to the World Junior Summer Showcase this week and despite being released from the roster on Monday, could still be invited to play for the United States at the IIHF 2020 World Junior Championship with a strong start with the Eagles in Hockey East. 

He had 34 points (eight goals, 26 assists) in 58 games for the NTDP last season despite being slowed for the first half of the season by a lower-body injury. 

"I'm just trying to prove myself right and show the strides I've made as a player," Warren said. "I'm not the biggest kid but I try to be stable on the ice for my defense partner while remaining calm, cool and collected."

Warren was projected to be selected in the opening three rounds of the 2019 draft. He was No. 61 in NHL Central Scouting's final ranking of North American skaters.

"Draft days hold many surprises and Marshall Warren's sixth-round selection was one of them although it was likely a pleasant surprise for the Wild," said Dan Marr, director of NHL Central Scouting. "Central Scouting, like all NHL clubs, scouted the NTDP extensively and sometimes that extensive scrutiny takes some twists, particularly if a prospect struggles or doesn't meet expectations at certain times in the season. Marshall had a strong first half and was ranked No. 39 at midseason and his second-half play garnered him No. 61 in the final rankings. 

"As the draft unfolded, it was a surprise that Marshall took such a hit as I'm quite certain he was ranked higher than a sixth-rounder by almost everyone, but what history and player development has continually proven is that it's what you do after your drafted that matters."

The wait may have been longer than expected but Warren remembers the overwhelming support he received.

"Boston College assistant coaches Mike Ayers and Brendan Buckley sat with me all six rounds," Warren said. "That's true respect right there. I was like, 'Wow, I can't wait to get to BC' and start my college career. The BC coaches said they want me to be an offensive, top-four defenseman since they lost two defensemen to graduation. I'll be there with NTDP teammate Drew Helleson (No. 47 pick of 2019 draft by the Colorado Avalanche), so we'll do our thing after playing together here so that's good."

Warren was one of two NTDP players selected by the Wild in the 2019 draft, along with left wing Matthew Boldy, who was picked No. 12 and is also at the summer showcase.

"The Wild organization was sitting in front of me at the draft and gave me a little wave right before selecting me, so I knew what was coming ... finally," Warren said. "It doesn't matter what round you're taken, it doesn't matter who you are, if your first overall or last in the draft. The bottom line is you're still drafted, a team selects you and that's so special."

Warren, an alternate captain with the NTDP, said what was most motivating to him was knowing 16 of his NTDP teammates also heard their names called at the draft.

"During the process, I was just so happy for them," he said. "I was just so lucky to be part of an organization that was so special."

John Beecher, an NTDP forward who was selected by the Boston Bruins with the No. 30 pick, is also here at the summer showcase. He's confident Warren is going to have a successful collegiate and NHL career, proving all those who doubted him wrong.

"A player like him ... he's an unbelievable defender," Beecher said. "Watch him skate and make plays, it's unbelievable. He's a phenomenal leader and you know the Wild are extremely fortunate to steal him at that point, so I know he'll make the most out of that opportunity. I'm extremely excited for Marshall. He's one of my great friends and I know he has a bright future."

--Video courtesy of wild.com

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