How does a defenceman with high-end offensive abilities and mobility score 50 points as a 16-year-old and not get ranked by many scouts as a surefire top-ten prospect?
Well, when you’re 5-11, a bit of a riverboat gambler and so-so in your own end, it keeps scouts in “wait-and-see” mode until some defensive improvements are evident. Merkley certainly has the skills to be a top-five pick in June, and if he can cut down on the turnovers, make passes in all three zones quicker and more frequently instead of trying to go end-to-end, read the play and position himself more smartly in defensive situations; the sky is the limit for the offensive dynamo.
Merkley’s puck skills and edge work are in the same stratosphere as Boqvist’s, so it’s not inconceivable that he can mature this season and convince a team picking at the very top of the draft that the risk will be worth the reward. There’s no question that he has the skills to be a power-play quarterback at the NHL level some day.
NHL Scouts CommentsOct. 3, 2017
He cheats..he's an offensive guy. You've got to live with the poor defensive position. But when he has the puck he pretty good..but I thought at the Ivan Hlinka..he's got the best skill level, but he overhandles..always takes a little bit of extra time than he should, sometimes gets dead-ended.
I think if they can work with him and get him to move pucks a little quicker..he's got the great speed and hands...he's got some offensive instincts. There are some things to grab onto.
He'a not big and not a great defender, but he can bring offence from the back end.
He's a lane creator. He doesn't have to take the big shot, he can just get it on the net through the screen..so he's good offensively, he's just not perfect, that's for sure. He's one of those guys that will probably have to grow on you over the year if he ever grows from being a one-dimensional player...he just has to work on his D.
He moves and he creates lanes, and he can thread it...but sometimes he overhandles.
Merkley will drive coach's crazy until he figures it out. I'll tell you that right now. And I think he will figure it out. He looked better at the Hlinka than he even did last season in Guelph. In Guelph, he just does whatever the F#$% he wants. He can drive you nuts. We'll see if he matures in that part of the game.
Sometimes with these guys you've gotta break them..you've gotta break them down a little bit.
You look at Anthony Deangelo right now with the Rangers. He's starting to understand that you need to move pucks a little quicker. You watch him play in exhibition right now, he looks good. But you worried about that in junior because he overhandled too much.
And then some guys don't get it...like you look at Ryan Murphy. All those types of players are kind of the same. Who figures it out and who doesn't is all.
There is a reason why some of them don't ever hit the top end because they always think they can do that little extra...that little bit more, and they turn pucks over when they shouldn't. We'll see if he figures it out. The physical attributes though are good.