Since being acquired from the Rangers two weeks ago, Dawson Mercer is showing his value while playing a bigger role with the Maple Leafs.
The 20-year-old from Carbonear, Newfoundland has already put up 4 goals and 9 points in 7 games played and has seen a major increase in ice time already with the Leafs.
Finding himself with only 12 minutes per game with the Rangers, Mercer is getting just under 19 minutes a night while playing on both the power play and penalty kill. Coming off a great rookie campaign with Hartford where he amassed 57 points in 57 games, GM Chris Walsh wanted to make sure he was coming his way in the Ovechkin deal.
“Listen, Chris Kreider will do Chris Kreider things for us,” Walsh says. “He instantly stepped into our dressing room and became a leader for this team. That’s why we slapped the C on his chest. But that trade was not only about getting Kreider here.
"Before I took over this role, I was scouting minor league teams and what I saw from Mercer was a kid who could skate, shoot, create plays, and is not afraid to finish his check on the forecheck. The fact we are both from The Rock may have played a little into wanting to get him here, but it's his play that has afforded him the opportunity he has here.
"We see him as a big part of our future”
In other news, the team announced after their 5-4 shootout loss earlier this week that they have signed goalie Chris Driedger to a new 4-year, $20,000,000 contract extension, showing they are committed to him as their #1 goalie for the foreseeable future.
They also commented on the trade made earlier that day that saw Derek Ryan shipped to Carolina in exchange for young D prospect Ryker Evans.
“Evans was another kid I had my eye on. I was on a fishing trip in Regina not long ago and was offered some tickets to check out the Pats play and this young guy quickly caught my attention.
"He’s a smooth-skating puck-moving offensive D man who can also defend.The lastt time I checked he was among the league leaders in scoring for defenseman in the WHL”
The Leafs find themselves with a 6-4-1 record since Walsh took over and are still sitting in the bottom of the Eastern Conference. Their next matchup sees them at home against the metro leading New Jersey Devils. In two games this season, the Leafs are 0-2-0 against the Devils and have been outscored 10-6.