Draft Prospect Profile: Nick Merkley

In case you haven't heard it yet, this NHL Draft is deep with talented prospects. Really deep.

It seems fool-proof for the Flyers to obtain a potential future star with the seventh overall pick.

With so much depth in this upcoming draft, there is really no way for the Flyers to fail to get a prospect of interest, someone that will be worth watching in the future and that could have extreme potential.

But after the Top 10, the draft could get very unpredictable right up until the Flyers pick again in the final two picks of the first round.

So we've been looking across the board at first-round prospects. The series continues with Kelowna forward Nick Merkley.

Merkley has all the makings of a playmaker, scoring 20 goals and adding 70 assists in 72 games with Kelowna this season, and another five goals and 22 assists in 19 playoffs games in the WHL and five more points in five games as the Rockets fell just short of the Memorial Cup.

An important thing to remember in relation to Merkley is the emergence of the smaller forwards in the NHL. At 5'10", Merkley fits the bill. 

The centerman has a strong grasp on controlling the play. He's got incredible jump when possessing the puck and his vision is excellent in finding teammates – evidence by the 70 assists this season. 

He has the ability to get creative offensively – it's not just assists with him – and he scores in various ways. Merkley has finesse to create space offensively and is certainly no stranger to the crease area.

His size is in question at this time, but it's nothing that couldn't change over time as he grows into an NHL player. At 187 pounds, he still doesn't shy away from board battles and displays a lot of work ethic. 

All-in-all, Merkley ranks out with the potential to turn into an elite second-line player, blending a 200-foot game with an incredible sense for the offensive zone. Defensively, he could use work being a centerman, but he's got the foundation of a solid defensive game.

Merkley could go as high as the 10th to 15th pick in the first round, but he's more likely to slip down into the 20s, which could prove to be a steal for a team that is already a perennial contender.

Merkley would have been a prime selection if the Flyers second first-round pick was in the range of 22-24. If somehow he slips late into the second round, this is a player that will be hard to pass up.

Kevin Durso is managing editor for Flyerdelphia. Follow him on Twitter @Kevin_Durso.

Go to top button