#31 – Nick Merkley, C/RW – Kelowna, WHL

TSN – #17
Central Scouting – #23 NAS
ISS – #19
Craig Button – #11
McKeens – #16
THN – #15


UPSIDE: 3rd line Playmaking Forward

A lot of people see ‘star’ value with Nick Merkley and I will admit that he’s an intriguing prospect. To me it just comes down to the fact that I don’t see him translating into a top-6 forward at the NHL level. Could he be a really good, 2-way playmaking winger on a 3rd line on some team at some point? Absolutely but I don’t believe in selecting players I’ve identified as topping out as 3rd-4th line upside in the first round. Merkley really reminds me of Steve Downie and no, not the ‘cheap shotting Steve Downie’ but the underrated playmaker Steve Downie. The guy who can be physical, get under opponent’s skin all the while setting up a teammate for a tap-in goal. (At least, that’s what he was with the Avalanche) I see Merkley a lot like that, without the cheap stuff. I think that he ends up in the NHL but I think his upside is limited.


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