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Draft Pick Profile: Nicholas Merkley

by Staff Writer / Arizona Coyotes


EDITOR'S NOTE: The Coyotes added nine prospects to the mix at the 2015 NHL Entry Draft in Sunrise, Fla. Follow along as ArizonaCoyotes.com profiles all nine draft picks. Today's featured player is right wing Nicholas Merkley.

Photo by Getty Images.

NICHOLAS MERKLEY

Age: 18
Height/Weight:
5-10/191
Position:
Right wing
Hometown:
Calgary, AB, CAN
Round:
1 (30th overall)
2014-15 team:
Kelowna (WHL)

The Skinny:

Merkley helped the Kelowna Rockets win the Ed Chynoweth Cup as Western Hockey League champions for the fourth time in franchise history, leading all players with 22 assists and placing third with 27 points (5-22—27) in 19 postseason outings. He also collected five points (3-2—5) at the 2015 Memorial Cup to guide Kelowna to the championship game before falling to Oshawa.

The Stats:

• During the 2014-15 regular season, Merkley led the Rockets and finished sixth in the WHL with 90 points (20-70—90) in 72 games to help the club finish atop the Western Conference.

• Merkley won WHL Rookie of the Year honors in 2013-14 after finishing third among rookies with 58 points (25-33—58) in 66 games as a 16-year-old.

• Merkley's most memorable hockey moment is winning gold with Canada at the 2014 Ivan Hlinka Memorial, where he served as an assistant captain. Merkley also wore an 'A' and tallied five points (2-3—5) at the 2014 World Under-17 Hockey Challenge, helping Team Pacific capture silver.

Photo by Getty Images.

The Quotes:

"It’s truly a dream come true. I’m kind of surprised. Going in the first round is pretty surreal for me. It's a great feeling to be drafted and an amazing team to go. I'm super excited." -- Nicholas Merkley

"I know it’s a young team, kind of rebuilding. Obviously, they’re going to be a good team in the future and I’m really excited to start playing there." -- Nicholas Merkley

"I'm a pass-first guy and I like to make plays, but I think I'm pretty physical and competitive also." -- Nicholas Merkley

"I love this kid. He's a little smaller in stature, but he's a strong built and quick... He has it all. He's quick, he competes, he's smart, he has talent. We had him 13th on our board. We were thrilled (to get him at No. 30). I can honestly say, that was a gift." -- Coyotes General Manager Don Maloney

Photo by Getty Images.

"We were very happy that he was still there (at No. 30). They try listing him as a center but we think he’s going to be a winger. He has really good puck control skills and is very competitive." -- Coyotes Director of Amateur Scouting Tim Bernhardt

The Fun Facts:

• Merkley's older brother, Jay, played the last four seasons in the WHL with the Lethbridge Hurricanes and Swift Current Broncos.

• Merkley spent the summer after his WHL rookie season training alongside Jordan Eberle of the Edmonton Oilers and Mike Green of the Washington Capitals.

• Merkley said his favorite NHL player while growing up was Jarome Iginla.


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