Dawson Mercer has been on fire in recent weeks. Mercer set a New Jersey Devils record for consecutive games with a goal with 7. Mercer tied a franchise record for the longest goal streak with 8 straight games with a goal. That franchise record was held by Paul Gardner, who set it with the Colorado Rockies back in 1977-78. Mercer was a game away (Specifically, a Connor Ingram and some awkward footing) from breaking the record and tying Wayne Gretzky for longest goal streak by a 21 year old or younger player. That may be a rather specific record. Tying Gretzky by any means is a massive achievement. Especially since the all-ages record of 16 straight games with a goal by Punch Broadbent in the 1921-22 season is a century old and highly likely to not be broken by anyone anytime soon. Still, Mercer’s eight-game run of goals was incredible. So much so that I think the goals deserve a closer look. Which ones? All ten of them over those eight games.
This would be a ludicrously long post if I were to do a breakdown for each one like I have done in the past. Therefore, I am streamlining this breakdown to describe what happened on the play, what the goal did, and, as a treat, rate it by how much DAWG was in Mercer for each goal. The goal-streak may have ended in Arizona, but the point-streak is 11 games and counting with a two-point effort in Washington. The DAWG remains barking from inside the young forward.
Goal #1: Mercer at St. Louis, February 16, 2023
The Video of the Goal: Dawson Mercer scores at 17:30 into the first period.
The Assists: Assists were given to Jesper Boqvist and Damon Severson. Both were legitimate as they directly contributed to the play that led to the goal.
The Impact: The Devils tied up the game at 1-1 with Mercer’s goal.
The Play that Led to the Goal: Tomas Tatar dropped the puck off to Severson at the top of the offensive zone. Severson found Mercer open by the slot and made a pass through Noel Acciari. Meanwhile, Jesper Boqvist was in front of Jordan Binnington and occupying Tory Krug’s attention. The pass went off Acciari, but still went through to Mercer, who retrieved it. He skates down towards the right post (Binnington’s right) with the puck and saw Krug down and Boqvist’s stick open at the top of the crease. Mercer attempted a backhanded pass to Boqvist.
He missed, but Acciari got it only for the puck to bounce off his stick. The puck then went off Boqvist’s skate. Boqvist moved the puck away to get it on his forehand. He fell down down in trying to force the puck past Binnington. The goalie got his right pad on the short shot. Mercer was standing at the goal line the whole time, saw puck rebound off the pad, took the puck, and roofed it over Binnington for the goal.
It looked like an opportunistic one for Mercer, but he created the situation that led to the rebound while putting himself in a great position for the rebound. Notably: No Blue followed or tried to get to Mercer on this play.
The DAWGness of the Goal: This goal was a guard dog. The breed does not matter so much, but think of a dog that follows a path and reacts when necessary. Mercer moved the puck to get it down low, waited patiently by the post as Boqvist tried to make something from it, and pounced when the opportunity presented itself. He did not need to get in the mix anymore than he needed to and found success in the process.
Goal #2: Mercer at Pittsburgh, February 18, 2023
The Video of the Goal: Dawson Mercer scores at 4:53 into the first period.
The Assists: Assists were given to Nico Hischier and Tomas Tatar. Tatar’s assist was real. I am not so certain about Hischier’s assist on this play.
The Impact: The Devils tied up the game at 1-1 with Mercer’s goal. Specifically, 1:20 after Evgeni Malkin scored.
The Play that Led to the Goal: This all starts with Tomas Tatar giving chase to Brian Dumoulin on a forecheck. Dumoulin took the puck to the corner and tried to cut back, only to run into the referee. Tatar took the loose puck and skated it out up to the outside of the the left dot (goalie’s left). As Tatar did that, Hischier and Mercer also skated by the dot with Mercer closer to Tatar and Hischier on the inside of the right circle. Pierre-Olivier Joseph took Mercer. Jeff Carter backchecked and tried to stay in the middle to get in the way of a lane to Hischier.
Mercer worked around Joseph to get inside position on him and Tatar found him with a pass. Mercer one-touched the puck towards goaltender Dustin Tokarski. Tokarski made a save and left a short rebound. Mercer moved closer to the goaltender and attempted a second time with a backhander, which went off Tokarski. Hischier missed on a rebound attempt. Mercer followed the second rebound and attempted a backhander ahead of Joseph. The shot went up, between Hischier’s legs and over the out-stretched stick of Tokarski to go into the net.
By the way, I watched this a heap of times looking to see where Hischier’s assist happened. It appeared to me he missed the puck on each rebound, due to being too over the puck and having Carter bother him. Unless I missed it, this was all Mercer after Tatar won the puck and passed it to him.
The DAWGness of the Goal: This goal was a Jack Russell Terrier. Mercer fought to get inside of Joseph. He proceeded to take three shots to score, finding his own rebound twice, and the one that went in required an especially difficult attempt that went up between the captain’s legs to get it over the goalie’s stick and to beat out Joseph’s own stick. All while remaining upright to get to said rebounds. This goal was a persistent and energetic effort from Mercer.
Goal #3: Mercer vs. Winnipeg, February 19, 2023
The Video of the Goal: Dawson Mercer scores at 15:16 into the first period.
The Assists: Assists were given to Nico Hischier and Dougie Hamilton. The assists were legitimate, although Hischier’s came close to leading to a goal at all.
The Impact: The Devils tied up the game at 1-1 with Mercer’s goal. Right after Cole Perfetti made it 0-1. 19 seconds in-game later, in fact.
The Play that Led to the Goal: Dougie Hamilton took a loose puck in the defensive zone, possibly from a neutral zone turnover, and looked up ice for his options in the neutral zone. He hit Hischier just over the redline with a pass. Mercer and Tatar flanked him as Hischier looked to gain the zone on the side where Winnipeg’s Dylan Samburg was defending. Hischier gained the zone and took the puck to the above the left circle (goalie’s left). He turned and attempted a pass towards Mercer, who entered the zone. However, Samburg got his stick on the pass and the puck popped up. It hit Blake Wheeler’s shoulder, who was in front of Mercer at the time.
Mercer was able to take the loose puck, settle it down with one touch, spun around Wheeler and collect the puck to settle it a second time. Mercer moved the puck down to the bottom of the left circle. He saw goalie Connor Hellebuyck covering the left post, Nate Schmidt facing him above the crease, Tatar headed towards the net behind Schmidt. He took one more touch towards the goal line. Just as Samburg - who moved on from Hischier and headed toward Mercer after he recovered the puck - stick-checked Mercer, Mercer got a pass off towards the right post in the hope of finding Tatar. Instead, Schmidt intercepted the pass and put the puck in past Connor Hellebuyck’s right.
Live, I thought Tatar scored. As did many of the People Who Matter. However, it was an own goal created by Mercer - which gave Mercer the credit on the scoresheet.
The DAWGness of the Goal: This goal was a Golden Retriever. Mercer’s intelligence and his hands were on full display for this goal. Mercer was able to gain the zone behind Wheeler without the Jet knowing. He managed to make the most of Hischier’s pass going awry with a favorable bounce off the Jet. Mercer was able to collect the puck, get around Wheeler to get into an open space, and settle the puck in a very quick motion. Mercer recognized that the right decision was to attempt a pass to the far post. He was rewarded with a goal - even if it was not by his intended target of Tatar.
Goal #4: Mercer vs. Winnipeg, February 19, 2023
The Video of the Goal: Dawson Mercer scores at 19:04 into the third period.
The Assists: Assists were given to Erik Haula and Ryan Graves. These were legitimate assists, with Haula’s being important even if Mercer didn’t score.
The Impact: The Devils made it a 4-2 game with an empty net goal. Say what you want about empty net goals. I think they are great. They almost always secure wins and Mercer secured a big, fat dub with this one.
The Play that Led to the Goal: The Devils had a defensive zone faceoff and were up against six Jets skaters. Hellebuyck was pulled for the extra skater. Haula won the draw and the puck went back to the left (goalie’s left) corner. Ryan Graves was first to the puck and moved it around the boards to reverse it - or change the side of the zone. Mercer, who also dropped back towards the other corner, was in a good position to retrieve the puck. However, he ran right into a referee. Josh Morrissey on Winnipeg pinched in deep to knock the puck back around the corner. The puck went past Mercer, the ref, John Marino, and Pierre-Luc Dubois. Graves was first to get the puck behind the net, with Wheeler right behind him with the pressure (and maybe a hold). Graves pushed the puck ahead to Haula in the corner, who proceeded to just launch the puck hard off the boards past Mark Schiefele.
The puck did exit the zone and slide through the neutral zone. Just as Haula cleared the puck, Mercer started to skate as hard as he can out of the zone from the middle. By the time the puck fell into the neutral zone, Mercer was away from Morrissey and just had Perfetti to beat to chase down the puck. Mercer made up a lot of ground to get right in front of Perfetti. In blocking out the Jet, Mercer was able to be first to the puck. He made one touch, a second touch, and then put the puck into the net. The Rock was electric. Mercer just stopped before he skated into the net. Then Perfetti gave him a cheap shot at the post. A scrum ensued but it did not matter. The Devils were then up 4-2 with 55 seconds left.
The DAWGness of the Goal: Forget a dog, this goal was an entire kennel chasing a comically large plate of steaks. I cannot stress enough how much ground Mercer made up on this play. He went from being picked by a referee in one corner to being the first Devil out of the zone after Haula’s clearance to winning a race that Perfetti had a lead and direct line to the puck to Mercer getting away from Perfetti enough to ice the game. It would have been fine if Haula’s clearance was all there was the Devils used the short window of time to change some skaters. Thankfully, Mercer basically said, “No, I am going to skate like a bat out of hell for over 150 feet to win this game.” I wanted to bark at my TV screen in honor of the goal. Maybe you did too. Maybe you do now.
Goal #5: Mercer vs. Montreal, February 21, 2023
The Video of the Goal: Dawson Mercer scores a power play goal at 11:58 into the third period.
The Assists: Assists were given to Miles Wood and Jack Hughes on the play. These were legitimate assists even if they were shots at a goalie who made a lot of them that night.
The Impact: The Devils made it a 2-4 game with a power play goal. While it was not so late in the game for two more goals out of the question, the Devils were not likely to make the comeback given how well Sam Montembeault played. And they did not. This ended up being a consolation goal.
The Play that Led to the Goal: The Devils were on a power play with Justin Barron serving a minor penalty for holding Nico Hischier. After a minute or so of the first power play unit, three members of the second unit came onto the ice: Mercer, Wood, and Tatar. Hamilton and Hughes stayed on the ice as the Devils were on the attack in the 5-on-4 situation.
The Devils’ 1-3-1 formation had Mercer in the middle, Wood in front of the net, Hughes to the goalie’s right, Tatar to the goalie’s left, and Hamilton at the point. The attack had Hughes pass it to Hamilton, who delayed, and then passed it back to The Big Deal. Hughes tried to pass it to Mercer at the goal line (Wood was in front of the net), but the pass was deflected. Mercer won the puck and took a check. Wood took that puck and passed it to Tatar in the corner. Tatar only got a touch on it and Hamilton skated towards the boards to take the puck and keep it onside. He then sent a pass across the point to Hughes, who was way above the right circle.
Hughes skated the puck to above the right hashmarks and fired a shot at Sam Montembeault. Meanwhile, Mercer returned to the slot, turned, and headed towards the net. He had inside position Wood was in front of the goalie, who left a short rebound. Wood tried to jam in the rebound, only to be denied by Montembeault. The puck came out between Wood’s legs and Mercer - who was not covered as he head to the net - was able to pick it up. He dragged the puck towards the right post and roofed it past the goalie for the power play goal.
The DAWGness of the Goal: This goal was Interceptor, who was Shadow’s dog in Final Fantasy 6. For the uninitiated, Shadow was an optional character in the game. He was a lone wolf ninja who had a dog named Interceptor. Occasionally, Interceptor would parry an physical attack against Shadow for no damage and then counter with an attack of his own. Otherwise, he is invisible in battles and only appears every so often. Which was what Mercer was like on this play. He was not directly involved in the play until he was and made his mark. Plus, Montreal’s penalty killers certainly thought #91 was invisible on the play.
Goal #6: Mercer vs. Los Angeles, February 23, 2023
The Video of the Goal: Dawson Mercer scores at 2:23 into the third period.
The Assists: Assists were given to Tatar and Kevin Bahl on the play. Tatar’s assist was a fantastic pass for a one-timer. Bahl’s assist was a dump-in that Tatar won from a King.
The Impact: The Devils made it a 2-2 game early in the third period in what started as an 0-2 game after one period. This one would be an important equalizer until over 13 minutes in-game later.
The Play that Led to the Goal: Damon Severson had the puck in the defensive zone and passed it up to Mercer in the neutral zone. Mercer was pressured by Arthur Kaliyev, who was on the forecheck to force said pass. Mercer passed the puck across to an open space to his left in the neutral zone. Kevin Bahl took the puck off the boards and slap-shotted the puck for dump-in. The puck went around the whole zone from right to left (goalie’s right to left). Tatar gained the zone and gave chase behind defenseman Tobias Bjornfot. Tatar caught up in time to win the puck on the outside of the left circle.
Tatar immediately headed down towards the goal line with the puck. Bjornfot followed him and defenseman Sean Walker moved left to engage Tatar. Meanwhile, Mercer went to the inside half of the left circle. He moved behind Kaliyev and found space as Walker moved to engage Tatar. Tatar dropped a dime of a backhanded pass to Mercer, who was next to the left dot. Mercer one-timed the shot high to the right post past Phoenix Copley to tie up the game.
The DAWGness of the Goal: This goal was any good boy who retrieves a Frisbee or a tennis ball or some kind of throwable object, places it at your feet, and sits up patiently waiting for you to do it again. The heavy lifting on this play was done by Tatar, who won the puck off the dump-in, drew the pressure, and then tossed a lovely pass back to Mercer. Mercer one-timed it to tie up the game at the time.
Goal #7: Mercer vs. Los Angeles, February 23, 2023
The Video of the Goal: Dawson Mercer scores at 2:30 into overtime.
The Assists: Assists were given to Hamilton and Vitek Vanecek. Yes, the goalie had a helper on this one. A legitimate one!
The Impact: The Devils won 4-3 in overtime!
The Play that Led to the Goal: Alex Iafallo tried to strip Jack Hughes of a puck in the neutral zone. Hughes battles enough for the puck to get away from Iafallo and slide into the Devils’ zone. With Iafallo heading into the zone, Vanecek came out of his crease and passed the puck across to an open Dougie Hamilton. Hamilton takes the pass, looked up, and passed it cleanly to Mercer by the red line. Mercer carried the puck in to gain the zone. As Hughes crossed up behind him, Adrian Kempe tried to stick-check Mercer. However, Mercer pivoted and used his body to protect the puck. Kempe dropped back with Drew Doughty and headed towards Hughes. Mercer was all alone above the right circle with the puck with Doughty and Copley locked onto him.
Instead of attempting a shot, Mercer made a move to the slot and then dropped a pass back for Hamilton, who entered the zone followed by Kevin Fiala, who replaced Iafello. As Mercer made that drop pass, he crossed up Doughty and Fiala. This left Fiala to focus on Hamilton while Mercer curled into the slot and got inside position on Doughty. Fiala was too far away to stop Hamilton from making a pass to Mercer - who had his stick out in front of him. Pass, one-touch re-direction shot, and the puck slid between Copley’s legs for the win. The Rock erupted. Mercer and Hamilton celebrated. Fiala frustratingly flung the puck out of the net. You love to see it.
The DAWGness of the Goal: This goal was Snoopy. One of the most famous beagles in existence. The whole play would have been given the seal of approval from Joe Cool himself. From Vanecek getting the puck safely to Hamilton to Hamilton passing it up to Mercer’s zone entry and puck protection to Hughes drawing Kempe away to Mercer crossing-up Doughty and Fiala to get with Doughty and inside position on the defenseman to Hamilton setting up Mercer to win the game with just one touch. Even the World War I Ace would have had trouble navigating all of that action in his Sopwith Camel. It started with chaos and it ended with the People Who Matter cheering and possibly even barking for the win. Out of all of the goals in this streak, this one was the most crucial.
Goal #8: Mercer vs. Philadelphia, February 25, 2023
The Video of the Goal: Dawson Mercer scores at 19:00 into the second period.
The Assists: One assist was given to Nico Hischier. It was not only beautiful, but similar enough to the 2000 Cup Winning goal that it could be called an homage.
The Impact: The Devils went up 3-0 late in the second period over the Second Rate Rivals. It would confirm that this game was going to be a rout. It would be one in the third period.
The Play that Led to the Goal: It began with Morgan Frost taking the puck to the redline only to be checked by Tatar. The hit was not massive but it separate Frost from the puck. All that was needed in that time. Mercer stretched out to pick up the loose puck, but the sticks from Frost and Tatar led to the puck being knocked forward. Possibly last by Mercer. And possibly as a pass to an open and on-side Nico Hischier. Instead, the puck missed Hischier and Risto Ristolainen - who was in Philly’s defensive zone - just poked the puck away toward the left corner.
Ristolainen did not exactly charge after the puck. Hischier got ahead of him, saw the puck come off the endboard, and moved to a stop. As the ice shavings kicked up, he saw Mercer all alone as he headed down the middle of the zone. Justin Braun made an attempt but he was too late. Hischier flung a back-hand pass through Ristolainen. Mercer one-timed it right in Samuel Ersson’s grill and past his blocker for the score.
The DAWGness of the Goal: This goal was Lassie in how it carried nostalgia and how simple it all was. Lassie was a popular show in the 1950s, 1960s, and 1970s, and replayed several decades after. It was a simple show with a constant plot for the first ten seasons or so: the boy got into trouble, Lassie would save the boy, and the boy would get a talking to about how he got into trouble. This play was straight forward. The Devils won a puck, the puck got loose, Hischier won it again, Hischier threw back a killer pass, and Mercer finished it. Only the stakes in this game were far, far lower than it was on a late night in Dallas back in June 2000.
Goal #9: Mercer at Colorado, March 1, 2023
The Video of the Goal: Dawson Mercer scores at 16:59 into the second period.
The Assists: Assists were given to Ryan Graves and Tatar. Both were legitimate, with Graves’ being the killer pass for the goal.
The Impact: The Devils went up 6-4 late in the second period. It was 5-1 before the Avs ran up three goals in short order. This gave the Devils some important breathing room in what would be a 7-5 win. This was also the goal that broke the New Jersey - not the franchise - record.
The Play that Led to the Goal: The play started with Tatar denying Mikko Rantanen a pass in the Devils offensive zone. He retrieved the puck and carried the puck out himself along the right boards (goalie’s right). He skated the puck all the way into Colorado’s end, drew the attention of Valeri Nichushkin, and then made a drop pass as the check was coming. Nichushkin stuck with Tatar and both headed around the net. The drop pass was taken by Ryan Graves, who was following Tatar into the zone. He carried the puck and headed forward. Rantanen moved to Graves to engage with him. But Graves had a step on the Colorado forward. After a Rantanen stick on the ice dissuaded the defender from making a pass across, Graves carried the puck to the goal line and turned toward the net. Just as that was happening, Mercer stopped at the top of the crease to Justus Annunen’s left.
Graves swept the puck across his body just as he entered the trapezoid behind the net. This protected the puck from Rantanen and allowed him to pass the puck in front. Annunen was down with his stick on the ice, but he was not covering the post. Samuel Girard arrived at the crease shortly after Mercer did and realized that he should do something about Mercer. So he stopped and turned away from the action to engage Mercer. This meant he was facing away from the goal. The puck went across to the top of the crease, past the skates of #49, and Mercer - who was facing the goal - took a low-shot as the puck came through the crease. The puck slid through Annunen’s legs for an insurance goal that would become a crucial one in the third period.
The DAWGness of the Goal: This goal was a Bichon Frise. Again, Mercer did not do a lot on this play but finish it. And unlike a bichon frise, Mercer did not need a long nap after this one. But he smartly went to the net to make himself an option for Graves. He went there, stopped, attracted #49 who surely regretted not watching the puck in this case, and put home the feed in front past Annunen, who surely regretted not trying to knock the puck away on the pass.
Goal #10: Mercer at Las Vegas, March 3, 2023
The Video of the Goal: Dawson Mercer scores at 19:32 into the first period.
The Assists: None. This was an individual effort from DAWGson.
The Impact: The Devils went up 2-1 in the first period, which was a just result given how well the Devils were otherwise playing in the period.
The Play that Led to the Goal: After a defensive zone faceoff won by Haula, Ryan Graves took the puck in the corner and passed it to Haula at the dot. Haula passed the puck out of the zone to Tatar, who was by the Devils bench. Mercer was watching from the center circle. Shea Theodore was right by Tatar and so he battled for the puck. It forced Tatar to play it up along the boards. Jack Eichel was at the Las Vegas blueline and received the puck. Mercer darted toward Eichel, who passed it back to his defensive partner, Brayden McNabb, in his own zone.
However, McNabb made a meal of the pass. It came off his stick and out into space with the defender hunched over and in no position to get the puck. Mercer, who kept going with the forecheck, was in position to pick up the loose puck. Mercer did so, went around McNabb towards the left dot, and fired an absolute rocket past Adin Hill and inside the left post. A wonderful shot off a turnover.
The DAWGness of the Goal: This goal was a Labrador Retriever. Partially because Mercer went after two of the gold-clad Knights to make this happen. Partially because a Labrador Retriever can be rather friendly but also quite focused to an exuberant degree to get what they are looking for. When Mercer got the gift of the turnover from McNabb, he pounced on it and gloriously moved it in for a wonderful goal.
Four Main Takeaways
Through all eight goals, a couple of common points emerged that should excite you, one of the People Who Matter, about Dawson Mercer’s burgeoning career as a NHL player. Four come to mind.
- Mercer gets in close - and also gets good positioning - Elliott wrote about this in a recent game preview and he is right. Mercer does get in scoring chance areas close to the net for his goals. What the heat map, SCF or HDCF count, and the xGF value does not tell you is about how Mercer is positioned in close. Getting to the net is good, getting inside position on the defender is even better. Mercer may not be the biggest or strongest, but he has been able to arrive in places or even out-work a defender - hi, Pierre-Oliver Joseph - to put himself in a position facing the net where the defender on him cannot do much. The apex of this was in his overtime winner. He did not just make Doughty and Kempe cross up, he got ahead of Doughty going to the net. That allowed Hamilton to make the pass that he did and Mercer to just one-touch it in past the goalie for the win. Even when the goals are not happening, Mercer can and is able to repeat this. Which he did in his goal in D.C. last night, when he turned to get inside position for a rebound against Alexander Alexeyev.
- Mercer is able to “disguise himself” to the defense. Likewise, Mercer has demonstrated during this streak that he can “get lost” in the offensive zone. What that means is that defensive players just do not keep up with him. Mercer has been able to make some of these goals on entries where he is just following behind an opposing player or get to an area on the ice while the defense is focusing elsewhere. The really productive players are very good at this and it makes fans, opposing players, and coaches very unhappy as you wonder how a Name Player is wide open for a shot that he scores on. Mercer may not be (yet) a Name Player, but it will continue to make himself dangerous for the opponent - and valuable for the Devils offense.
This and the previous point helps make Mercer an option for his teammates when they have the puck. That allows his line to be more dynamic in attacking and give the opposition defense more to be concerned about. It also speaks to Mercer’s intelligence on the ice. He can read a situation happening before him and get into a space or find a space to make something on offense happen. Even if someone else has the puck to create it, that has value in a lot of offensive situations. It is why I would expect Mercer to continue emerging as an offensive player in this league. Also why I am not surprised he surpassed his rookie season’s production in 19 fewer games.
- Mercer did get some good fortune - but none were total flukes outside of the own goal. This is always something I look for with a streak. Hockey is a chaotic game and sometimes you need a favorable bounce or something favorable outside anyone’s control to get a goal or make a stop or whathaveyou. There were a couple of “lucky” moments. The first goal against Winnipeg had two what with Hischier’s pass going off Wheeler and dropping for Mercer to handle it and that goal really being scored by Nate Schmidt. Some of these goals would not have happened without some things going against the Devils. Imagine if Cole Perfetti hustled more for that cleared puck? Imagine if McNabb didn’t botch a simple pass from Eichel? Imagine if Girard didn’t focus on the man and looked to deny a potentially lethal pass to the crease? Imagine if his one-timers or one-touch shots did not beat the goalies so cleanly? This is not to say that Mercer just lucked into eight straight games of ten total goals. Just that there were something that went well for him and/or the Devils on those plays. And it is important to recognize that in hockey that a player can do all of the right things - and still not get points. In this streak, Mercer did. Fortunately, while the goal streak ended on Sunday, Mercer has continued to get on the scoresheet. He is not devoid of fortune after this run; and provided those first two points, it was not going to be long before he scored again. He did it in Washington with a goal similar to a couple on this list.
- Mercer really has that DAWG in him. This is the main takeaway out of all of this. There are some in hockey, including some of the People Who Matter, who give a lot of love to players who exhibit “grit” and “energy” and “toughness.” Those players tend not to be 21-year old forwards who are officially listed at 6’0” and 180 pounds. Especially not players who are not banging and crashing opposing players. Not players who were touted as offensively skilled prospects like Mercer. The meme about player having a DAWG in him is about players who have that kind of attitude and give a rugged effort to make things happen regardless of whether the game is won or lost. It is about players who go the extra mile to contribue to his team. This goal streak showed multiple times and in multiple ways how Mercer went the extra mile to make goals happen. Mercer absolutely went to the dangerous areas on the ice for goals. Mercer battled to get in front of defenders or get lost amid them to make them pay. Mercer made himself an option for his teammates. His empty net goal against Winnipeg alone confirmed how much DAWG was in him. It was the grittiest, most energetic thing I have seen from a Devil this season. Mercer gave his all near the end of regulation after getting bodied up by a ref to skate over 150 feet beat out Perfetti to a loose puck, handle said puck with Perfetti’s desperate pressure, ice the game with the ENG, and even got a cheapshot for his efforts - which did not really faze Mercer. Mercer demonstrated enough DAWG that in all eight of these games where he scored at least one goal. DAWGson Mercer is not just a cute nickname. He earned it with these goals on this streak and even with some of the assists on his on-going point streak.
Now I turn to you, the People Who Matter. Now that the goal streak ended (and the point streak is 11 games old), what do you think of Dawson Mercer as a whole? Were you impressed with how he scored these goals? Do you agree he has that DAWG in him? What else did you notice with all of these goals? What do you make of this shorter format for multiole goal breakdowns? Please leave your answers and other thoughts about Mercer’s goal streak and DAWGson Mercer in general in the comments. Thank you for reading.