GLENDALE – Coyotes prospect Nick Merkley will head to his first NHL training camp next week with a contract in hand after signing his first pro deal on Thursday.
Arizona chose Merkley, who inked a three-year, entry-level deal, with the 30th overall pick in this year’s NHL Entry Draft.
"It's something you dream about as a kid and it happened, so I'm really excited," Merkley said after signing his contract in Kelowna, B.C.
|Photo by Norm Hall. |
Merkley said signing the contract is just one of several steps on his journey to the NHL. Next up, he is slated to report to Coyotes rookie camp on Sept. 11.
"It will be good to see all the guys again and get back at it," said Merkley, who met the team's other draft picks and prospects at the Prospect Development Camp in July. "Obviously, I'm going to do whatever it takes to put my best foot forward and show the coaches and scouting staff what I have and try to make the team. It might not happen this year but if I give it my all I'll set myself up good."
Coyotes General Manager Don Maloney was thrilled when the team selected Merkley with the final pick of the first round. After the Draft, he described getting Merkley, who ranked sixth in the Western Hockey League in scoring and third in assists, at No. 30 as "a gift."
"I love this kid," Maloney said at the Draft. "He has it all. He's quick, he competes, he's smart, and he has talent."
And now, he has a contract.