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2020 NHL Draft: Devils Picked Dawson Mercer at 18th Overall in the First Round

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With their second selection in the first round of the 2020 NHL Draft, the New Jersey Devils went with another winger and took Dawson Mercer from the Q. Come check out an initial reaction to the pick, and give your own reaction!

2020 CHL/NHL Top Prospects Game Photo by Vaughn Ridley/Getty Images

With the 18th overall pick in the 2020 NHL Draft, your New Jersey Devils selected Dawson Mercer from the Chicoutimi Saugenéens of the QMJHL.

Despite playing in the Q, Dawson is one of the few players in the league who were born elsewhere, hailing from Carbonear, Newfoundland. He is a winger, and will slot in as right wing in the Devils’ system. Standing at 6 foot even and weighing 179 lbs according to Elite Prospects, he is one of the oldest prospects in this draft, with a October 2001 birthday. He will be 19 already in just a few short weeks. That is good in a way, as it has provided Tom Fitzgerald and the Devils scouting department with three full seasons of Q experience to look at.

And he has done nothing but produce in that league over the last two seasons. He played most of his time in the league for the Drummondville Voltigeurs before being traded to Chicoutimi midway through last year. While with Drummondville in 2018-19, he dominated despite not being a draft eligible player yet, with 64 points in 68 games. In the shortened 2019-20 campaign, he had an amazing 42 points in 26 games for Drummondville before the trade, and then had 18 points in 16 games for Chicoutimi. Despite a new team and new linemates, he still was over a point per game. This year, 2 games into the new season, he already has 3 points.

I did a profile on Mercer myself earlier in the quarantine (both players so far drafted by NJ were profiled by me. Not boasting or anything). I was fairly high on him then, and thought he should be someone NJ targeted if they had a pick around #17. Well, they took him at #18. To me, this was the right pick at the right time. Given who had gone off the board, and who was left, I thought Mercer was the best choice here, and I was happy when the name was called. He could become another scorer on this team, someone who thinks shoot first, pass second, someone who could really complement Jack Hughes or Nico Hischier quite well. It is clear that is the plan, between Alexander Holtz and now Dawson Mercer. They want guys who can be put alongside those centers, and who will complement their games well. Both guys drafted so far do that.

Here is a short sample of other profiles on Mercer. The main complaint you will see about Mercer is his skating. It is by far the weakest part of his game. But they all love everything else about his game, and he has a great hockey mind and a strong work ethic to go along with it.

  • The Draft Analyst has a scouting report on Mercer here from back at the end of March, and he was very high on him. Ended up ranking him #23 overall, however, a lower ranking for him as compared to most all others. His scouting report is much higher on him than his final ranking, seems to me.
  • Habs Eyes on the Prize did their own profile as well, and they were equally as high on him, saying that he manages to do so well without great skating, and if he ever manages to get that right, watch out.
  • The Last Word on Hockey has a scouting report up from April. They give him the potential of a top 6 forward if it all falls right, and give a stylistic comparison to the game of Jonathan Toews.
  • In network, besides the Habs blog, there are also profiles up from Defending Big D, who prayed that he fell to them, and Second City Hockey, who made a strong case for the team to take him at 17.

Here are some analytical pictures, mostly from Mitch Brown’s Tracking Project. They further promote that this was a good selection by Fitzgerald and the Devils. He is a solid prospect.

Finally, some highlight videos for you to peruse at your pleasure:

That is it for me. Once again, I am high on this pick at #18 given how the draft was shaking out before that pick. I think Mercer could have went several picks before the Devils were up at 18, honestly. It was the right move at the right time, and it adds more solid forward depth into the prospect pool, something that was desperately needed. Now, however, it is your turn. What do you think of the pick? Do you like it, are you against it? Who would you have wanted here instead? Please leave comments below, and also please participate in the poll below.

Poll

The Devils drafted Dawson Mercer at 18th overall. What do you think of the pick?

This poll is closed

  • 40%
    I love it!
    (228 votes)
  • 44%
    I like it
    (254 votes)
  • 11%
    I don’t know/I’m in the middle
    (65 votes)
  • 2%
    I don’t like it
    (13 votes)
  • 1%
    I hate it!
    (6 votes)
566 votes total Vote Now