Kelowna Rockets winger Nick Merkley is projected to be a first-round pick in the upcoming 2015 NHL Draft. Should the Oilers chose not to move their 16th-overall pick, Merkley could still be on the board at that time.
Merkley, although small in size, is big in talent. The 5-foot-11, 191-pound forward is NHL Central Scouting’s 23rd-ranked North American skater after a season in which he recorded 90 points (20-70-90) in 72 games. He added 27 points (5-22-27) in 19 WHL playoff games and three goals and two assists at the Memorial Cup.
His teammate and Oilers prospect Leon Draisaitl got a taste of what kind of player Merkley can be as the two worked well together.
“He’s a great kid,” said Draisaitl. “He works really hard. He loves the game and what he’s done this year speaks for itself. He’s a great playmaker. He sees the ice really well. Whoever picks him is going to be really happy getting him, that’s for sure.”
What if that “whoever” was the Oilers?
“Yeah, for sure. Why not? It would be cool to see him in the same organization. But wherever he goes he’ll be fine and they’re going to get a great player,” said Draisaitl.