NJ Devils: Tapping Into Yegor Sharangovich and Dawson Mercer’s Potential

Dawson Mercer #91 of the New Jersey Devils. (Photo by Derek Cain/Getty Images)
Dawson Mercer #91 of the New Jersey Devils. (Photo by Derek Cain/Getty Images) /

As the New Jersey Devils look to bolster their roster before March 3rd’s NHL Trade Deadline, there are a few key players whose potential that aren’t tapped to their fullest potential—starting off with these two young guys who have evolved from prospects to sophomore and junior seasons in the NHL. Dawson Mercer and Yegor Sharangovich are very important to the future of this franchise. How can they add to this team’s depth moving forward?

Dawson Mercer

Dawson Mercer is on pace for 48 points this season. However, there are intangibles that he must improve upon. His defense, transition, and offense leave a little to be desired. Mercer needs to improve upon his overall impact, especially by denying more opponents the offensive breakouts and cutting off passing plays. This means keeping opponents outside the high and mid-danger zones along the wall as a winger on defense.

The second key for the Newfoundland native is to improve the way he carries and protects the puck on offense to defense. As Mercer grows to play with the puck more, he can prove to be a very reliable two-way defender who can become more effective in the offensive zone. Segue over to the offensive zone; those very responsible puck retrievals and possession time will be valuable. Mercer can help create a strong power play second unit that can fool the opposition on defense and get the most chaos created in front of opposing netminders. If Mercer can become more of an asset in those facets, then his points per game should pop above the current 0.54.

Yegor Sharangovich

Yegor Sharangovich is a very streaky sharpshooter but could be a much better player than what he is now. Like Mercer, Sharangovich’s offense leaves something to be desired. The Belarusian native can put pucks on the net and in the back of it. However, he could be a bit better passer. Sharangovich needs to get pucks off faster and more efficiently.

He does know how to manipulate the corners of the netminders but sometimes needs to create a bit more traffic. Moving back in transition, Sharangovich needs to be a bit cleaner with the possession of the puck exiting the defensive zone and going up via the neutral zone. On the entry passes, Sharangovich needs to look for the open teammate to make that clean entry zone pass, catching opponents in a miss match for offensive breakouts.

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The defense for Sharangovich starts off with the penalty kill. His ability when the Devils are down a man shows he can be very valuable to this team. As he plays a more defensive role, he needs to be more aggressive in recovering the puck and improving the overall impact as a more effective player. If he can gain more offensive chances from all this improved play he can catch Mikhail Grabovski‘s record for all-time scoring for Belarusian skaters over a 10-15 season span.