If an NHL team is looking for a solid, character defenseman to help build their future blue line, William Wrenn is their man.
Wrenn captained Team USA to an U18 World Championship on home ice in April, in his second year with the USNTDP.
The defensive defenseman is rated 54th among North American skaters by Central Scouting, and 70th among all skaters by ISS (May). He’s not likely to go higher than that, as the first couple rounds are not where the defensive-minded typically go. Wrenn will occasionally carry the puck, but is not known for a booming shot. On the power play, as a defenseman you’d expect him at the point, but he’s often found in the slot screening the goalie.
Listed at 6’1, 190 pounds, he plays a bit bigger than those numbers on the ice as he uses his body well. He’ll need to continue to do that in the WCHA in the fall. The Alaska native is headed to University of Denver.
Hockey’s Future spoke to Wrenn at the U18 Championships. He had just found out he was invited to the NHL combine, which he was excited about. He also talked about the decision to go to DU and what he needs to work on.
HF: There are a lot of DU guys here at the tournament. Have you known them all for a while?
WW: Drew Shore and Jason Zucker I’ve known from the program. Drew was with us last year an Zucker was an addition this year and got moved up. But Adam Murray, I’ve been like best friends with since 10 or 11 years old. We grew up together and then we were fortunate enough to get the opportunity to come to play for the US national program also, so it’s been a great experience for both of us.
HF: Who decided to go to DU first, you or him — or where you a package?
WW: He decided, but it was shortly after that I committed too because we wanted to go to school the same place. We’ve been through everything together. There were no flaws in it — it seemed like the perfect place for us to go.
HF: Did you go on a recruiting trip at the same time?
WW: No, we actually went separate times because he was looking at other schools. It was the first school I visited and I liked it so much that after he committed I decided I would too.
HF: So you didn’t say to DU, ‘you have to take Adam to get me?’
WW: No, no. I think they might have known though. They knew we were really close friends. I think they knew that if they got one of us, the odds would be a lot better that the other one would come as well.
HF: A lot of people say about you, ‘defensive-defenseman, nothing fancy.’ You’d agree that that’s accurate?
WW: Yeah. On this team I just try to shut down the plays. That’s just my job right now. I think I have skill and all that to be an offensive presence as well, but I’m worried about the team right now. I put two years into this team, that’s what they need so it’s basically what I do.
HF: You’re on the power play right now, is that normal?
WW: Yeah, I’ve been on the power play most of the year. They understand I want to get offense. I play power play, I do my job at it. Five-on-five, they let me jump in the rush, but my first job is to play defense, be smart at it.
HF: Have you talked with many NHL teams for the draft?
WW: Not really. I think my advisor has. I’ve gotten some emails with surveys from teams.
HF: What types of questions do they ask?
WW: Some of them are psychological, confusing questions I guess you could say. Then other ones are just basic questionnaires — who do you play like, how big and tall you are.
HF: Can you give an example of a confusing question?
WW: Geez…I won’t say they are confusing, but they want to see how you think, psychologically, because the questions are the same but they mix up words and change words throughout the survey. That’s the best I can explain it. I can’t remember an exact question.
HF: Did you pass?
WW: I think so (laughs). I think I’m OK in that category.
HF: Are you a good student?
WW: Yeah. I’ve had at least a 3.0 my entire high school career. I bounce up and down between 3.0 and 4.0.
HF: And DU is good academically.
WW: Yeah, they’re a private school and pride themselves on that and so do I.
HF: What do you need to work on while you’re in college?
WW: I’d say just my offensive abilities. I think I’ll get a lot more freedom to be offensive when I go there. I’ll lose a lot of my role being captain and all that stuff. And you can always work on your skating.
HF: You look OK on weight.
WW: Yeah, I’m pretty good on weight. I could always be bigger, but I’m happy with where I am.
HF: What’s your ideal weight?
WW: I’d like to gain about 10 lbs of muscle.
HF: That’s what the summer’s for, right?
WW: Exactly. With the program we work out three or four times a week, but when the year’s over I try to work out five times a week and do cardio two or three times.