WARREN RELYING ON VERSATILITY TO STAY IN AMERKS LINEUP
The third-year Amerk is willing to do whatever it takes, even playing an unfamiliar positionNov 22, 2022
By Suzie Cool
Rochester Americans forward Brendan Warren quite literally laughed when asked, “When was the last time you centered a game?”
“I think I played a few games at center in my sophomore year of college, but before that…maybe 15, 16 years old. So, not for a while.”
Now, the best part of this story isn’t the fact that Warren hadn’t played center in a while. Instead, the best part about Warren taking on center, despite not knowing how well he could play the position, was how he took on the challenge without a second thought just to stay in the lineup.
“Initially, I was like, ‘I don't even know if I could play center,’ but then I figured it can't be too hard,” said Warren when asked what his reaction was to finding out he’d be centering a line with captain Michael Mersch and forward Brett Murray. “I knew playing with Mersch and Murray was going to be a lot of help with how good those guys are physically, how they talk a lot. They helped me out and made the job a lot easier, but then I realize how hard center actually is.”
Warren continued with what made playing center so challenging with, “The extra skating and the extra responsibility. In the D zone you're not just kind of watching the plays develop you’re engaged and in the corners and battling. You’re constantly doing something.”
So, why did Amerks head coach Seth Appert make the switch for Warren this weekend? It’s simple, really. Appert trusts Warren after the work the forward has put in over his last three years in Rochester.
“We give more responsibility to the players we trust,” stated Appert prior to Friday’s home game against the Utica Comets. “Brendan, over the last three years, has earned a lot of trust from us. I think we always talk about the development of the young prospects, but there's development in our older players that we're very proud of as well. Brennan Warren is a player that just continues to grow his game at this level, and he's been extremely effective for us.”
Over the last three seasons in Rochester, Warren has gone on to appear in 69 games with the Amerks, racking up 11 goals and five assists for 16 points along the way.
Normally a left wing, Warren spent the last two games centering lines that consisted of Mersch and Murray on Friday, before being the centerpiece to forward Lukas Rousek and the Amerks captain on Saturday. A new role for the third-year Amerk who is beginning to exude confidence with every challenge the coaching staff continues to throw at him.
“I'm just incredibly proud of Brendan, just how much he's grown, the fight and the path he's had to get here,” commented Appert when asked to reflect on how Warren took on his new role this past weekend. “When he was a younger player, he was skilled and he was an offensive player and, to become a great pro, he's having to turn into a physical, demanding, mean player to play against and a penalty killer. Everything we throw at him, he keeps taking on and he seems to be gaining more and more confidence in himself with the physicality and the style that he's playing.”
Despite never centering a line in his pro career until this past weekend, Warren seems more than comfortable to take on this newfound responsibility, especially if that means the forward will remain in the lineup from here on out.
When asked if he had to center a line for the rest of the season for the remainder of the Amerks 2022-23 campaign, Warren finished with, “Absolutely. If it gets me in the lineup, then I’ll do whatever.”