New Jersey Devils: 5 Questions in 5 Minutes with Dawson Mercer

Dawson Mercer #91 of the New Jersey Devils takes a shot for a goal during the first period of the game against the Detroit Red Wings at Little Caesars Arena. Mandatory Credit: Brian Sevald-USA TODAY Sports
Dawson Mercer #91 of the New Jersey Devils takes a shot for a goal during the first period of the game against the Detroit Red Wings at Little Caesars Arena. Mandatory Credit: Brian Sevald-USA TODAY Sports /

97 consecutive games. That’s how many games Dawson Mercer has played in to start his NHL career without missing even one. That’s also the same number of games that the New Jersey Devils played over the past season + one month. That’s a great streak regardless when it comes, hockey is not an easy sport and we see all the time where players get hurt via a puck to the face or blocking a shot with a hand or foot. But to play 97 straight games as a 20-21-year-old in the best hockey league in the world? That’s some impressive stuff.

While he may be off to a slower start than last season – six points/four goals through 15 games, that’s okay because the team is better this season and they haven’t really needed Mercer to be the team’s leading scorer. Also, two of his four goals ended up being game winners, tied with Jesper Bratt for second on the team.

“His play – the small ice game, winning those battles, his wall play and battles around the net, behind the net – he’s increased the level that he was at,” said Devils Head Coach Lindy Ruff following a recent game. “Even on his goal (vs SJ), he stayed with it and found a little space in front of the net, and found his own rebound. That’s the level we need him to be at.”

Unfortunately for Mercer, the points and goals have been few and far between in the early going of the season – no points in the past five games – but his play away from the puck has been solid, and perhaps most importantly, the team is white-hot right now and winners of nine straight.

New Jersey Devils
New Jersey Devils center Dawson Mercer (18): Ed Mulholland-USA TODAY Sports /

After a recent game, I caught up with the second-youngest player on the Devils roster (Alex Holtz is younger by about three months) and asked Dawson Mercer 5 questions in 5 minutes, and here’s how it went.

Pucks & Pitchforks: Have you adjusted or changed anything as you start to navigate your second professional season?

Dawson Mercer: I don’t want to change my game too much. Obviously, I want to build on it and be an offensive player scoring goals and stuff – like I did today. Last year I was that 200-foot player and I still want that to be a part of my game. I want to make sure that when anyone is with me (on the ice) that they trust me on the D-side. But while also using my speed and offensive abilities to score some goals.

P&P: What are some things you worked at improving during the offseason?

DM: You obviously want to get stronger, that’s a big thing. Especially as a younger player – there are so many big guys in this league, and they’re hard to battle against for those loose pucks. I worked on that (this offseason), but also all aspects of my game, I see myself as that all-around, 200-foot player. I did work on putting pucks in the net and trying to be a better scorer. I’m getting a lot of chances and I’m just trying to make sure I put away as many as I can.

P&P: Does your familiarity with the league now, and knowing what to expect schedule and travel-wise, help as you prepare during the season?

DM: Yeah, using my experience from last year – you realize it’s a long season, there’s a lot to it, and you pretty much are playing on a nightly basis. You practice, you play, and then you come back; and it’s a long year. Making sure I know that and doing the right things away from the rink is a big thing. Like eating properly, and recovery; you want to make sure you don’t get away from that throughout the year.

Tomas Tatar Confident Devils Can Hit Their Goals...With His Help. dark. Next

P&P: Are you a hockey junkie? Do you watch a lot of hockey when you’re at home?

DM: To be honest, not too much. I’ll mostly watch my own shifts, our shifts get sent to us from the coaching staff and I’ll watch those; I’m more focused on that. But I’d like to watch (other teams) games more than I have been, so hopefully, I’ll get on that this year.

Pucks And Pitchforks
Pucks And Pitchforks /

Want your voice heard? Join the Pucks And Pitchforks team!

Write for us!

P&P: Alright, last one. Is that no. 91 a little heavier on your back than the 18 was? I mean, that is a big number man.

DM: Haha. I like the 91! I was no. 19 in Juniors, so I just switched it around. I’ve never really been a high-number guy, but it’s been working so far this year, so I’ll stick with it and let it roll.