New Jersey Devils: What Is Dawson Mercer’s Ceiling In NHL?

Dawson Mercer #20 of Canada. (Photo by Codie McLachlan/Getty Images)
Dawson Mercer #20 of Canada. (Photo by Codie McLachlan/Getty Images) /

The New Jersey Devils have a great young prospect in Dawson Mercer.

Tuesday was another fun day of the World Junior Classic in the Alberta bubble. The New Jersey Devils have some prospects playing in the tournament which always makes it even more fun to watch. We got to watch guys like Dawson Mercer, Shakir Mukhamadullin, Arseni Gritsyuk, and Patrick Moynihan make impacts for their teams throughout the day. As fun as all of that was, watching Dawson Mercer sparked a thought.

Mercer is a great player and he seems to play like a few Devils alumni. He does things that make one think that he would be a “fan favorite” type of player. That comes for a guy who works hard, gives an extra level of effort, and is very good at everything. When you watch him play in this tournament, you can see him do all of those things.

Mercer is a great player but he landed on Canada’s fourth line. That isn’t because he is a fourth liner, it is because the team is so stacked. It is one of the best World Junior rosters ever assembled and they show why in just about every game. Mercer still, however, makes an impact in pretty much every game. If he isn’t racking up points, he is killing penalties. All of this is getting him noticed and making people very happy that the Devils used a high pick on him.

We can think of a few former Devils that he reminds us of. The first that comes to mind is Blake Coleman. Coleman was a great scorer that used hard work and effort to make himself successful. He killed penalties for the Devils and was gritty at times. The other is Zach Parise. Parise had much more raw talent but he worked as hard as a fourth-liner.

Coleman was a great player for the Devils before his 2020 trade to the Tampa Bay Lightning and he was clearly their missing piece. You can also describe him as a poor man’s Zach Parise. He doesn’t have the raw skill that Parise has but his effort levels and all-around game are similar. If you had to compare Mercer to either of them, it would be hard to pinpoint exactly one.

If Mercer turned into Zach Parise, that would be so amazing for the Devils. However, it seems unrealistic at this time. Turning into Coleman wouldn’t be too bad either because he really helps whatever team he is on. A good hope for Mercer would be somewhere in the middle. If he has a bit more skill than Coleman but maybe less than Parise, this would still be a great player.

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He keeps showing off different skills in every game he plays with Team Canada. He might have a couple of years to go before he gets his shot in the NHL but you never know. For now, he needs to just keep doing what he is doing and he will be just fine. We might not know his ceiling in the NHL for sure but we do know that the future is bright.