New Jersey Devils: Dawson Mercer Makes Most Sense In Top Six

New Jersey Devils center Dawson Mercer (91) celebrates his goal with teammates in front of Edmonton Oilers goaltender Stuart Skinner (74) during the second period at Prudential Center. Mandatory Credit: Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports
New Jersey Devils center Dawson Mercer (91) celebrates his goal with teammates in front of Edmonton Oilers goaltender Stuart Skinner (74) during the second period at Prudential Center. Mandatory Credit: Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports /
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The New Jersey Devils won 13 games in a row. That ties the franchise record set in 2001. That year, this impressive Devils team made a run all the way to the Stanley Cup Final. This year, the Devils look like one of the best teams in the league. Only the Boston Bruins have a better record than the Devils.

Despite their success, Lindy Ruff hasn’t been afraid to change up the lineup. The defensemen aren’t changing, but the forwards do basically on a nightly basis. The changes are subtle. The BMW line almost always stays together. The top three lines will change constantly. That happened in the middle of Monday night’s game against the Edmonton Oilers. Dawson Mercer started the night on the third line with Jesper Boqvist and Yegor Sharangovich, but he ended the night next to Nico Hischier and Jesper Bratt.

Fabian Zetterlund fell to the third line, but he still had an assist. Meanwhile, Mercer had three points including one of the easiest goals of his life.

It was clear from almost the second he joined the line that Dawson Mercer would fit nicely next to Nico Hischier and Jesper Bratt. His tenacious style of play helps gain possession for Hischier and Bratt. His effort also helps on the defensive side of the puck, something his current linemates also excel at.

Mercer finished the night with a goal and an assist, just his second multi-point night of the season. While Mercer hasn’t been as good offensively as last season, he has contributed in other ways. He is tied for sixth on the team in individual high-danger chances. His line has been decent at stopping the other team from scoring. Now, he gets to prove his worth on the top line.

The Devils took the Oilers for everything they had. Mercer definitely helped that. He was on the ice for four high-danger chances at 5v5. Only Dougie Hamilton was on for more. Ruff was rewarding Mercer for his good play.

Mercer should spend the foreseeable future in the top six. He deserves great teammates, whether on Hischier or Jack Hughes’ line. He ends up getting lost on the third line. Mercer has 119 5v5 minutes without Hischier or Hughes. He has 53% of offensive chances. When it comes to high-danger chances, he has 62% of those high-danger chances on the ice. With Hughes or Hischier, he has about 101 minutes with one or the other. They have 70% of high-danger chances.

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Mercer is giving the Devils exactly what they give him. That’s why it makes sense to keep Mercer on the top line with Hischier.