Name: Brendan Warren
Position: Left Wing/Center
Team: US National Team Development Program U18
2014-2015 stats: 61 games, 19 goals, 19 assists, 38 points
Final NHL Central Scouting Rank: 66th among North American skaters
What are his strengths and weaknesses?
Warren's best asset has always been his skating. Though he spent most of this past season playing on the wing, he's capable of playing center. He's a player that competes hard and is willing to go into tough areas and work along the boards to win pucks.
The downside to Warren's game is that his hands have never quite been able to keep up with his feet. A lack of creativity with the puck and high-end finishing ability has led Warren to put up rather pedestrian scoring numbers. He's much better in a supporting offensive role than as a player that drives play with the puck.
Is he trending up or down heading into the Draft?
Warren was rated as one of the top players in his birth year when he committed to the University of Michigan as a 15-year-old standout for the Compuware AAA program. Over the past two seasons with the NTDP program, Warren has been a solid player, but never quite developed into the premier scorer that some thought he might when he was younger. He put together a solid season this past year, but didn't put up the type of gaudy offensive numbers one might expect from a top round draft choice.
Where is he projected to go in the Draft?
NHL Central Scouting loved Warren in the early part of the year, putting him in the range of the top two rounds of the Draft, but seems to have cooled on him a bit because of the lack of high-end scoring ability. That lack of home run potential probably pushes him out of the top 60 of the draft, but he's a good enough player that he'll likely be picked by someone in the third or fourth round.
How does he project as a pro?
Warren likely won't ever be a go-to goal-scorer at the pro level, but he's not without value. He's a strong enough skater and smart enough to play center at the NHL level, and a shutdown defensive centerman is a very valuable commodity. If his lack of playmaking ability precludes him from playing up the middle, he could also be effective as a two-way forward that can affect the game with his speed and his work along the boards.
Where will he go next?
Warren will play for the University of Michigan next season. With the offseason departures to the NHL of centers Andrew Copp and Dylan Larkin, there should be an immediate opportunity for Warren to step into the Michigan line-up and make an impact. Warren will likely play at Michigan at least two full seasons before the team that drafts him thinks about signing him.