Dawson Mercer is a 2020 Draft Eligible right wing prospect who hails from Bay Roberts, Newfoundland. He is one of the top draft-eligible right wingers and should be a top-25 selection come draft night. Mercer can also be used at center; the Drummondville Voltigeurs have experimented with Mercer at center and it has seemed to work well.
This season is his third season with the Drummondville Voltigeurs. Currently, he is serving a six-game suspension for an illegal open-ice hit against Val d’Or Foreurs forward Émil Lessard-Adyn. When he is in the lineup, he is an absolute menace. Through 19 games played, he has mustered up 16 goals and 15 assists. Unfortunately, he likely will not be able to break last year’s point total of 64, but he will likely come pretty close to it.
Mercer was also featured in the QMJHL/Russia series and had a strong showing. In the two games played against Russia, he had recorded two goals and an assist. During the tournament, he was often paired with Raphaël Lavoie (C, Halifax Mooseheads, Edmonton Oilers prospect) and Jakob Pelletier (LW, Moncton Wildcats, Calgary Flames prospect). The trio were outstanding in the series and formed solid chemistry almost from the get-go.
Prior to his time in the QMJHL, Mercer attended and played for Bishop’s College Prep in Sherbrooke, Quebec. Mercer was one of the top producing forwards for Bishop’s College Prep and caught the attention of the Voltigeurs. Drummondville ended up drafting Mercer eighth overall in the 2017 QMJHL Entry Draft.
- Shoots: Right
- DOB: October 27, 2001
- Height: 6’0”
- Weight: 172 lbs
Dawson Mercer’s skating might be one of the most underrated components to his game. His speed, stride and edgework are great. Mercer will utilize his speed to get past traffic and elevate the puck up the ice. His edgework allows him to weave and attempt to create open ice for himself. Mercer seems to thrive when he has open ice, so the 18 year old seems to do whatever he can to ensure that he has enough open space.
Mercer does need to further develop his turns and balance. When it comes to his turns, most of his turns are too wide and he will need to tighten them. In terms of his balance, you will occasionally notice that Mercer can lose balance in key situations, such as his goal that he scored against Team Russia on November 5, 2019. In the video below, you will see that Mercer is still able to finish his shot and capitalize, but he loses control of his stride.
Mercer has one of the best shots in the QMJHL. In general, his shooting is accurate and will not only shoot from certain areas of the ice. Mercer will shoot from the slot, crash the net and shoot, wrap-around and shoot lasers from the point or half-wall. His shot is always quick, just a quick flick of the stick.
For the most part, Mercer is accurate, but will struggle with his accuracy when it comes to backhand shots. Most of the time, Mercer will lean on his wrist shot or slap shot, but if he can iron out his backhand shot, it will only benefit him and he will be able to add to his bag of tricks. Given that backhand shots are less common from beyond the slot, it is not a major deterrent, but it is definitely an area of Mercer’s game that needs to improve.
Aside from Mercer’s backhand shot, the teenager does a great job of faking his shot. In the below clip, you will see Mercer fake a shot and then two seconds later, he will fire one for a goal. It is incredibly how easy it is for Mercer to fool a net-minder into thinking that he will be taking a slap shot and then two seconds later strike.
Jakob Pelletier sets up Dawson Mercer well on a 2 on 1. Mercer capitalizes off a smooth slap shot. Mercer is having a great game for the Q.#QMJHL | @FCHockey | @DobberProspects | #2020NHLDraft pic.twitter.com/ehONTYS2tg— Josh Tessler (@JoshTessler_) November 5, 2019
Mercer’s passing is a tad inconsistent. While it is inconsistent, it is inconsistent throughout the game rather than being inconsistent from game to game.
In certain parts of the game, he will deliver straight systematic passes. He will look ahead of him, understand where the opposition is headed and if it becomes a challenge to make a forward pass, he will defer to using the boards. Below is an example of a pass that he completed by using the boards.
But, in the same game, he will make the same pass when traffic is sitting along the boards. It seems that at times, Mercer seems to forget to identify where the opposition is and what pass would be the preferable one.
Mercer’s most dominant pass is his slot pass. When Mercer is in the slot, his natural play-making abilities sizzle. He will deliver quality passes in the slot and help key up scoring chances.
Watching Mercer stick handle and dangle around his opposition is fun. It is always quality entertainment. The problem is that sometimes he can be too flashy and that can come back to bite him. Mercer needs to be more cautious with dangling at times as he is prone to coughing up the puck when being overly showy.
While he can be too flashy for his own good, he will constantly deliver quality stickhandling especially in high traffic scenarios. In the clip below, you can check out how Mercer dangles around two members of the Val-d’Or Foreurs (Émil Lessard-Aydin and Alexandre Couture) and still manage to get a shot off.
Mercer seems to thrive in all three zones. In the defensive zone, he is always engaged and drops back. He seems to track the puck quite well and always seems to be looking for the optimal backcheck/poke check. When you watch Mercer play in the defensive zone, he just seems always ready to pounce on the opposition.
The only area of his defensive game that is non-existent is his physicality. He did make an illegal charge against Val-d’Or Foreurs forward Émil Lessard-Aydin, but generally he does play a non-physical game.
Given his frame and his style of play, it is not uncommon that a player like Mercer would not be more physically gifted. In the future, it would be a nice element to add to his game, but it is not crucial that he adds more physicality to his game. NHL teams will be more interested in his puck tracking and poke checking than how physical he is.
Comparable: Jordan Eberle
You can find a DobberProspects fantasy profile on Mercer here:
- 2020 NHL Draft Fantasy Rankings
- Prospect Ramblings: Calder Power Rankings 004
- Prospect Ramblings: Just How Good is Cale Makar?
- Prospect Ramblings: Player A vs. Player B
- 2021 NHL Draft Ranking: Finnish prospects (December 2019)
- WHL Report - December 2019
- Shift Work: Lucas Raymond
- QMJHL Report - December 2019