Photo Credit: Dominic Charette | Olympiques de Gatineau
Scouting Report written by Josh Tessler
Noah Warren is a 2022 NHL Draft eligible prospect, who hails from St-Jean-sur-Richelieu, Quebec. St-Jean-sur-Richelieu is a suburb of Montréal, Quebec and is just east of Brossard, Quebec.
Warren plays for the Gatineau Olympiques in the QMJHL (Quebec Major Junior Hockey League) and made his QMJHL debut during the 2020-2021 season. He had been selected by the Olympiques at 8th overall in the 2020 QMJHL Entry Draft. Warren was one of four first rounders that Gatineau selected. In addition to Warren, they drafted Tristan Luneau, Antonin Verreault and Samuel Savoie.
Prior to joining the Olympiques last season, he played bantam hockey for the CCL Dynamiques AAA team and midget hockey for the Collège Charles-Lemoyne Riverains.
In February of 2021, Warren wrote a post that was published by Hockey Canada, in which he mentioned that as a Black male that he has faced racism on the ice. He explained that he wants to be involved in making hockey more diversified. In his post, Warren stated “But I’m motivated to do what I can to make the game a better place. To make it safer and more welcoming for everyone, regardless of the color of their skin. I want to follow in the footsteps of players like Anthony Duclair and P.K. Subban, and hopefully join in the work being done by the Hockey Diversity Alliance.”
D.O.B – July 15, 2004
Nationality – Canada
Draft Eligibility – 2022
Weight –214 lbs
Position – Defense
Handedness – Right
Warren’s Style Of Play
Before I dive in and break down Noah Warren’s offensive play, I want to explain that the offensive zone is typically not the zone that Warren consistent thrives in. The zone in which he is far more consistent in is his own zone. In the offensive zone, you will see Warren pinch up and get involved down low, but it is far from consistent.
When he pinches up, he will open up passing lanes for teammates in the corner or across the slot to pass through. he identifies opponents who are puck watching, skates past them, cuts in front of the forward looking to cover him at the net, collects the puck off of a pass and scores.
While Warren is a bit inconsistent with his pinching when he is looking to create passing lanes, he is rather consistent at pinching up to cause disruption. Warren will pinch up to blindside the attacking winger who is facing his defensemen with the puck and not paying attention to Warren nor the point. Warren does this to force the attacker to lose possession of the puck immediately after receiving it from the defenseman.
Warren will struggle to make quick decision passes and get the puck to a teammate. He doesn’t identify the best passing lane and thus draws tight pressure to him. When he has the puck and draws pressure, he isn’t the mobile type. He won’t pivot out and try to net open ice. Instead, he will attempt to take a shot from the point before the attacker takes away the shooting lane. With that said, Warren doesn’t have a great shot. Most shots go to the pads if they get on net and can be easily stopped. Simply, he doesn’t possess a lot of power behind his shot. His weight transfer doesn’t shift forward. In addition, he needs to work on skate placement when attempting a slap shot from range. Like golf, when you are aiming to connect with the puck or golf ball, your feet need to be pointed towards the desired direction. Warren will have his skates positioned towards the boards and that hurts his accuracy. In addition, he needs to be more selective in shot selection, if he has a man right on him, it’s not ideal to take a wrist shot and see if he can somehow get the puck through the lane. As stated above, he isn’t mobile enough to shift out of pressure and that means that he will struggle to open up ice for himself when facing tight pressure at the point. So, he is stuck and has to shoot or dump the puck to the corner.
When it comes to stick-handling, Warren has excellent upper body strength and that has been evident with his stick-handling reachability. Warren has really good reach that he can use if a loose puck is coming to him and he only notices at the last second.
Warren’s play in the defensive zone is where he truly shines.
Warren centers his positioning if there are puck battles along the boards along the opposite half-wall. He implements good positioning down low and in the corner and will implement solid pressure when the attack is trying to cycle the rush but has their back turned to Warren. He looks to blindside them and trap them. When the attacking rush is skating up the other half-wall when entering into the offensive zone, Warren stays at centered ice and defends against the attacker skating towards the slot.
Warren implements solid pressure against the half-wall, will sandwich attackers at the perimeter, but looks to take away lanes to the slot and force the attacker to work the boards when the oppositional rush enters the zone. He will look cut off the rush by throwing his weight. But, he doesn’t just use his weight to suppress pressure off the rush. Warren has strong net-front presence and if someone is looking to park themselves in front, Warren will throw his weight. He also uses his weight in the corners in puck battles to trap the oppositional cycle.
When he is defending multiple attackers in a 2-on-1 situation, Warren bends his knees, gets low and extends out his stick in front of his net. He doesn’t overcommit to one attacker in a 2-on-1, he stays centered and that allows him to use an active stick (extend his stick blade) and truly neutralize the situation. His stick blade extensions managed to silence the oppositional’s odd-man rush as he was able to use his reach to take away passing lanes. But, it isn’t just 2-on-1 situations in which Warren lowers himself. In most situations when Gatineau doesn’t have control of the puck, he looks to bend his knees and lower his body when defending to take up as much space as possible. After lowering himself, Warren manages to traps the puck carrier in the corner and then shoulder checks him.
As mentioned above when we discussed Warren’s defensive pressure on 2-on-1, Warren has excellent stick-handling reach and it allows him to extend his stick out to take up space in the defensive zone. When he gets face-to-face with an attacker skating along the line between medium and low danger, extends his stick out in front of his body to force play to stay on that line. His reachability can be used to trap attackers too when attackers are cycling the puck along the boards and can be used to take away passing lanes especially when implementing tight pressure on the puck carrier. That allows him to disrupt oppositional puck movement and he doesn’t have to be right at the attacker, he can be situated slightly further back. He will also use his stick-handling reach to match the attacker’s stick extensions as the attacker carries the puck towards the slot. Warren will put weight on the attacker when he is about to strike and then he steals possession of the puck.
One of the issues that Warren will struggle with in the defensive zone is generating enough speed to net defensive recoveries. There are instances in which he will trap puck carrying attackers, push into them and force pucks to be dumped into the corner. But, he lacks the speed to net control of that loose puck. He needs to work on a quality hop and lengthy skate extensions to power himself to the corner to grab the puck. He does have an advantage when it comes to reach, so if he can improve his acceleration, he will find far more success when going for loose pucks and dealing with oppositional pressure at the same time.
When you look at Warren’s breakout passing ability, he does well when it comes to complete tape to tape feeds to teammates in his own zone. Warren looks for teammates towards the blue line and identifies passing quality passing lanes to use to get the puck to those teammates. His passes are smooth and easy for teammates to trap. While a decent amount of his breakout passing is tape to tape feeds, Warren does have the ability to complete bounce pass breakout passes that ricochet off the boards to a teammate further up in the defensive zone when Warren is facing an aggressive forecheck. In addition, he can rely on his reach to create passing lanes in the defensive zone should the forechecker extend his stick blade towards the puck when Warren is controlling the puck. The only type of pass that Warren seems to struggle with is stretch passing. He struggles with long range passing to his teammates in the neutral zone and it will lead to icing if his teammates can’t get their stick blade or shaft to touch the puck before it goes into the offensive zone.
When defending the rush in the neutral zone, Warren will look to skate into the rush and cut you off at the blue line. Warren will inch closer to the rush along the boards and when the rush gets to the Gatineau blue line, he will swivel his hips and shuts down the rush with a hip-check.
There was a game against the Drummondville Voltigeurs that I watched in which Warren was able to shut down one of the top QMJHL 2023 NHL Draft eligible prospects in Tyler Peddle. He managed to assert tight pressure on Tyler Peddle in the neutral zone to kill his rush attempts. Warren leaned in with his shoulder and manages to force Peddle to lose control of the puck.
He will look to lean in with his weight in the neutral zone to slow attackers down if they are looking to go into the Gatineau zone for loose pucks before the attackers cross the Gatineau blue line.
When Warren is in control of the puck in the neutral zone, he will often end up dumping the puck into the offensive zone. As we mentioned in the offensive section, he lacks mobility and that means that when he runs into pressure that he can’t rely on his edges to peel away from pressure and that means that in a lot of cases that he runs out of room. So, he has no other option than to dump the puck to the corner.
Warren can rely on his reachability and use one hand to stick-handle towards the side that his attacker isn’t near to secure the puck. If he spots a teammate who is faster than he is and has the ability to get the puck to the offensive zone faster than Warren, he will then complete a shovel pass to that teammate.
Warren skates well for a player of his frame. He constantly has his knees bent and has good ankle flexion.
He does have solid lengthy crossovers that he can rely on to build acceleration, but he does need to work on incorporating more crossovers into his forward skating to net more acceleration. When typically skating forward, he will rely on a few crossovers when pushing off, but then quickly swap to average length skate extensions. Unfortunately, his skate extensions don’t help him muster the speed that he needs to hunt for loose pucks. But, if he is in a tight puck battle, he has shown that he can rely on his reach to grab a hold of the puck before the attack does. He can also leverage his upper body strength to cut to the inside when engaged in a loose puck battle. However, if he can adopt a power stride and add more crossovers into his forward skating, it will only make him faster to loose pucks and he won’t have to rely on his reach to grab a hold of pucks. With additional speed, he can get to the puck cleanly and not have to deal with heavy pressure.
As mentioned a few times now, he isn’t a mobile skater when he is in control of the puck. He doesn’t have the mobility to create space for himself and there are times where his outside edges fail him when he is trying to capture possession of a loose puck and he has to pivot to grab a hold of the loose puck.
When he doesn’t have the puck and is defending, he seems to be a stronger on his edges when reacting to puck movement. He rotates his hips well and deploys quality inside edges with his knees bent when defending against an attacker that pivots to try to draw Warren off guard.
If Warren’s pinching in the offensive zone can become more consistent and he looks to create passing lanes more and more down low, his offensive upside potential will go up. But, he hasn’t shown to be overly consistent in that regard. His mobility and straight line speed needs to improve as well to shift around pressure to pick up possession of loose pucks. He can bail himself out with his reach, but increasing his speed will allow him to pick up pucks without much pressure. If he can work his mobility, he can become far more elusive and dodge pressure instead of dumping pucks in and hoping that teammates can regain control. Warren does have the fundamentals and the talent to at least be a defensive defenseman in the NHL. Most likely a third pairing defenseman. But, if he can improve his skating, mobility and his shot, he could be a contender for a second pairing role in the NHL.
February 26, 2022
stats from InStat and EliteProspects
Prospect report written by Josh Tessler. If you would like to follow Josh on Twitter, his handle is @JoshTessler_.
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