Nashville Predators Draft Profile: Will Dawson Mercer Fall Far Enough?

Dawson Mercer #19 of Team Red (Photo by Vaughn Ridley/Getty Images)
Dawson Mercer #19 of Team Red (Photo by Vaughn Ridley/Getty Images) /

Sooner or later we’ll get the 2020 NHL Entry Draft, and the Nashville Predators need to be targeting offensive firepower for their first-round pick

This draft class is fairly deep with offensive playmakers to the point that the Nashville Predators should be able to get their choice of several of them in the first round.

One player that intrigues me is Dawson Mercer out of the QMJHL of Quebec, Canada. He’s a hardworking, grind-it-out type of player that earns every inch of the ice. A guy you’re proud to go to battle with.

This is a player you can’t help but be interested in no matter what your team needs may be in terms of positions. The more hardworking players you have on your roster, the better off you usually are.

Mercer has an exceptional offensive game as a right winger, but he’s still considered a mid-round pick in the first round, per The Hockey Writers:

"“While some have him ranked as high as a sixth overall, the likelihood is that he will drop in somewhere in the 12 to 17 overall range.”"

Mercer could end up being a huge steal if he slips down to where the Predators will be picking. He’d be a no-brainer at that position in the first round.

Over the last two seasons in the QMJHL, Mercer has put up very efficient offensive numbers with 124 points in 110 games. This is the efficiency you expect to see when projecting prospects in the first round.

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A lot of upside, not much downside

There’s not a lot to make you cautious about Mercer. Every draft pick carries some kind of risk that they don’t continue to develop after being drafted, but that risk looks very low when it comes to Mercer.

Mercer is a prospect that already shows so many excellent traits that translate immediately to the NHL level like heavy forechecking, finding open parts of the offensive zone and being a strong set-up man.

To go along with a crisp and effective offensive game, Mercer is known to be a high-quality penalty killer as well, per the scouting report from The Draft Analyst.

Not sure if you’ve watched the Predators lately, but their specials teams have been atrocious. They need more players in their prospect pool who play effectively without the puck, and Mercer is one of those guys that does that.

Another big reason Mercer would fill a need for the Predators is their uncertain free agency situation. It’s uncertain if the Predators are going to be able to retain pending free agents Craig Smith, Mikael Granlund or Colin Blackwell this offseason.

The draft class this year is regarded as one that’s deep when it comes to offensive forwards and wingers. So with that said, there’s a chance that Mercer falls back despite being a player that should be regarded in the top-half of the first round.

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This is easily one of the top prospects that the Predators could target, but I’m just not sure if he’ll slip down to the Predators. If he somehow does, this is my top prospect for the Predators to take.