The Calgary native was projected as high as #14 by some scouting services, thanks in no small part to his playmaking ability. In his second full season in the WHL, Merkley had 20 goals and 70 assists in 72 games played.
Merkley's biggest challenge in transitioning to the NHL will be his height; he is only 5' 11" and 190 pounds. Though smaller forwards have enjoyed their moment in the sun this season thanks in part to players like Johnny Gaudreau and Tyler Johnson, the Pacific Division is much larger. Merkley will need to hone his skills and improve his decision making ability with the puck to avoid contact and make clean zone entries.
General Manager Don Maloney mentioned how surprised he was to see Merkley available at #30. And given his skillset, it's not hard to see why. Though he has quite a bit to learn, Nick Merkley stands to be a useful addition to the goal scorers Arizona has added to their system in the past few drafts.