Nick Merkley
Images: CHL Images

Nick Merkley

Hometown:

Calgary Alberta

Currently Playing In:

CHL

Birthday:

1997-05-23

Position:

RW

Eligible for draft:

2015

Shoots:

Right

Drafted:

2015

Height:

5-11

Acquired:

1st Round (30th Overall), 2015

Weight:

191 lbs.

<<<<<<< Updated upstream
History

2011-12: Nick Merkley skated for the Calgary Bisons bantam AAA team and played for the Calgary South Flames in the Alberta Cup. He was selected by Kelowna in the first round (ninth overall) in the 2012 WHL Bantam Draft. 

2012-13: Merkley made his WHL debut in a December cameo appearance with Kelowna, later joining the Rockets for the WHL playoffs following his midget AAA season with the Calgary Buffaloes in the Alberta Midget Hockey League.  He had no points nor penalties in his only regular season game with Kelowna and was -2 with 3 assists in seven playoff contests. Merkley scored 14 goals with 19 assists and 95 penalty minutes in 30 regular season games for the Buffaloes. Calgary reached the AMHL semifinals before falling to Red Deer and Merkley had 4 goals with 6 assists and 16 penalty minutes in 11 playoff games. 

2013-14: Merkley was the fifth-leading scorer for Kelowna as a 16-year-old and was an assistant captain for the Canada Pacific U17 team at the 2014 World Hockey Challenge. He scored 25 goals with 33 assists and was +24 with 46 penalty minutes in 66 regular season games for the Rockets. Kelowna finished first in the B.C Division, reaching the Western Conference finals against Portland. Merkley scored 4 goals with 13 assists and was +5 with 12 penalty minutes in 14 playoff games. He scored 2 goals with 3 assists and 14 penalty minutes in six games for Canada Pacific. 

2014-15: Merkley returned to Kelowna for his second WHL season after winning a gold medal as an assistant captain for the Canada U18 team at the 2014 Ivan Hlinka Memorial Tournament. He was the WHL’s sixth-leading scorer and was the league’s third-leading scorer in the playoffs behind Portland’s Nicolas Petan (Winnipeg) and Rockets’ teammate Leon Draisaitl (Edmonton) during Kelowna’s championship run. He scored 20 goals and was third in the WHL with  70 assists in 72 regular season games and was +29 with 79 penalty minutes. The Rockets finished first in the B.C. Division and defeated Brandon in the WHL finals. Merkley scored 5 goals with 22 assists and was +12 with 18 penalty minutes in 19 WHL playoff games. He scored 3 goals with 2 assists and was +1 with 14 penalty minutes in five games at the Memorial Cup. Kelowna reached the final, falling 2-1 in overtime to Oshawa. Merkley was +9 with 4 assists and 8 penalty minutes in five games for Canada at the Ivan Hlinka tournament. He skated for Team Orr in the 2015 CHL/NHL Top Prospects Game and was ranked 23rd amongst North American skaters in the Central Scouting final rankings. Merkley was selected by Arizona in the first round (30th overall) in the 2015 NHL Draft. 

Talent Analysis

Merkley shoots with accuracy but is a pure passer, the top playmaker on the Rockets in 2014-15. He is prepared to play physically, but occasionally expends energy making contact when there is little advantage in doing so. Merkley added some grit to his game this season to complement his already dynamic skating ability.

Future

Merkley participated in the Canada U20 evaluation camp over the summer and will skate in his first training camp before likely returning to Kelowna for his third WHL season in 2015-16. The Rockets lost several players from last year's championship squad and Merkley will be counted on to lead the way offensively. He is a candidate to skate for Canada at the World Juniors as an 18-year-old. With his work ethic, physical edge, and scoring ability, Merkley has the tools and versatility to eventually play any of the three forward positions.

NHL Draft Primer: WHL and QMJHL stars dominate 11-24 group of North American skaters

by David Hahn
on
Nick Merkley - Kelowna Rockets

Photo: Kelowna Rockets forward and 2015 prospect Nick Merkley led the WHL Champion Rockets in scoring during the 2014-15 regular season with 90 points in 72 games (courtesy of Aaron Bell/CHL Images)

 

 

Among North American skaters ranked 11 through 24 in NHL Central Scouting’s final rankings for the 2015 NHL Draft, the WHL and QMJHL claim a majority of them. It’s a deep group from the two leagues this year, with a pair of high-end competitors adding to this group from the OHL and USHL. Read more»

2015 NHL Draft: McDavid, Eichel locked into top slots, Strome just behind in ISS Hockey’s April rankings

by ISS
on
Connor McDavid and Dylan Strome - Erie Otters

Photo: Erie Otters forwards Connor McDavid (R) and Dylan Strome (L) are ranked #1 and #3 respectively in the ISS Hockey April rankings for the 2015 NHL Draft (courtesy of Aaron Bel/OHL Images and Terry Wilson/OHL Images)

 

There are no surprises at the very top of ISS Hockey’s April rankings for the 2015 NHL Draft, but there was some movement outside the top two positions. Read more»

The Top Five three-man CHL line combos

by Craig Fischer
on
Max Domi, Christian Dvorak, Mitch Marner - London Knights

Photo: The London Knights top line of Max Domi (L), Christian Dvorak (C), and Mitch Marner (R) has been the most effective line in the CHL in 2014-15 (courtesy of Aaron Bell/OHL Images)

 

In the game of hockey, much is made of individual performances and skill sets. But hockey is and always will be a team sport, and no matter how great a young player is, he will always be reliant upon his linemates. Every second on the ice is a battle. For every highlight-reel shift where a player weaves around his entire opposition and scores, there are a thousand shifts where he and his linemates have to work together for a positive result. Read more»

2015 NHL Draft: Marner breaks into a top 5 that otherwise remains unchanged in the March ISS Hockey rankings

by Ken McKenna
on
Jack Eichel - Boston University - 2015 Beanpot Tournament Championship

Photo: Boston University forward and 2015 prospect Jack Eichel hoists The Beanpot trophy after the Terriers won the 2015 Beanpot by defeating Northeastern University 4-3 in the championship game (courtesy of Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

 

While the top four players in the ISS Hockey March rankings for the 2015 NHL Draft remain unchanged, one player managed to move up a few slots to land among the top five prospects. Read more»

Prospect Faceoff: QMJHL’s leading scorer faces a test, other key head-to-head matchups for the weekend ahead

by David Hahn
on
Kyle Connor - Youngstown Phantoms; William Lagesson - Dubuque Fighting Saints

Photo: Youngstown Phantoms forward and 2015 prospect Kyle Connor goes head-to-head with Dubuque Fighting Saints defenseman and Edmonton Oilers prospect William Lagesson this weekend (courtesy of Youngstown Phantoms/Brandon Anderson/BA Photos)

 

Three CHL matchups, plus an NCAA head-to-head and a USHL weekend series featuring a top 2015 prospect highlight the prospect matchups in this week’s Prospect Faceoff feature. Read more»