VOORHEES — 20-year old Kevin Marshall has seen himself quickly rise to the top of the organization’s prospect ranks since being selected by the Flyers 41st overall in the 2007 draft. The gritty stay-at-home blue liner is armed with a plethora of attractive weapons, including excellent vision, good skating and a nose for physical contact. But one the Quebec native’s most attractive qualities helped come from the advice of Hall of Famer and Quebec Rampart head coach Patrick Roy.
“Roy wanted me to improve on my leadership,” said Marshall, who was given the captaincy of the Ramparts right away in 2008-09. “He taught me that being a captain is all about work ethic and always being enthusiastic. He gave me some good tips that helped me really improve in that aspect.”
Although Marshall is a skilled defender with good size at 6-1, 210 lbs., it’s his work ethic and character that set him apart.
“I am a natural leader,” he said. “Some have it and some don’t. I have the ability to lead.”
But when it comes to being a team captain, Marshall knows that words are cheap in getting his squad to follow his lead.
“I can be a vocal leader, but I also work my balls off on the ice during practice and games,” he said. “I modeled myself after the captains I saw growing up, the ones that were constantly working and never took a day off. So when one of my teammates doesn’t’ feel good one day, they will see Marshall working and follow.”
Entering his first pro season, Marshall is one of just a few prospects that may see NHL time this season. And even though there are a handful of defenders ahead of him on the depth chart, the Flyers know that their prized blue liner won’t need much time developing in the AHL.
“This year I have a chance to play with the Phantoms,” said Marshall. “They want me to be aggressive, good in the defensive zone and make a clean first pass. That’s what I’m working on in camp and we’ll see what happens. So far camp has been good. I’m feeling great, my cardio felt great on the ice.”
A big part of Marshall’s physical maturity is due to working every summer with famed hockey trainer Paul Gagne.
“I trained all summer with Paul Gagne in Montreal and he really knows what he’s doing,” said Marshall. “I worked with him and Marty Havlat, Ian Laperriere, Pierre-Marc Bouchard and Milan Michalek, and so far I feel great. My body feels great right now and it’s because of him.”
With the aggressive offseason acquisition of Laperriere, Chris Pronger and Ole-Kristian Tollefsen, the Flyers are clearly putting a high value on character. And for Marshall, that’s good sign for the future