Dawson Mercer
(courtesy IG @dawson1417)

One of the New Jersey Devils’ first round picks in 2020 looked great at the World Juniors, leading to many believing he has a bright future.

The New Jersey Devils are a young, promising team that’s already exceeding expectations. One of their talented, deep group of prospects, Dawson Mercer, has been garnering his fair share of attention lately.

Mercer was taken by the Devils with the 18th overall pick in the 2020 draft, their second first-round selection. He’s been praised for his ability to play as a center and right winger as well as his versatile skill set.

Craig Button of TSN made an appearance on the 7-Eleven Junior Hockey Magazine Podcast to discuss Mercer’s future.

Mercer gained a great deal of attention as a member of Team Canada during the World Juniors, where he was one of the incredibly skilled and talented team’s most impressive players. The 19-year-old recorded six points in seven games and proved that he can truly do it all.

Button, TSN’s Director of Scouting, was one of many who was impressed by what he saw from Mercer as a part of Team Canada and spoke about what makes him a special player as well as his career outlook.

Button referred to Mercer as “utility for the coaches because you can use him anywhere in the lineup”. Mercer is capable of being used as a top, middle, or bottom-six forward and will always contribute.

Button noted that versatile guys like Mercer who can be used in all situations and can play with any type of player “not only max out on their abilities, but help other players max out on their abilities”.

That makes Mercer a luxury, especially in the age of the salary cap. Button notes that that’s how Mercer was used in the World Juniors and that it clearly worked.

He concluded by saying that he believes Mercer isn’t NHL-ready quite yet and does need another year of development, but the maturity he’s displayed has been noticeable.

What makes him unique is that he has a great skill-set and knows what he is. Button mentioned that there are many players who have the skill-set, but are still in the process of understanding what they are. That isn’t the case with Mercer.

This is what will make Mercer so valuable to the Devils when he does get the call. He can play multiple positions, but can also score and be effective as a playmaker to bring out the best in his teammates. His effectiveness as a two-way forward shouldn’t go unnoticed, either.

Mercer seems to be getting better by the month, and there’s much to like about this talented forward.

Leen has written about the MLB, NBA, NFL, NHL, and international soccer. She is currently the primary NHL writer for ESNY. Leen's work has been featured on Bleacher Report and she was formerly a contributor for FanSided's New York Mets blog, Rising Apple. She is a co-host of the Yankees-Mets Express podcast.