Busy season suits Mercer’s style
It was a whirlwind season for Dawson Mercer. Until it wasn’t.
But for eight months, it was all-in for the 2020 NHL Draft prospect, who started with the Drummondville Voltigeurs, ended with the Chicoutimi Sagueneens, and included plenty of airmiles in between.
“It was a good season, it was busy obviously,” Mercer told FCHockey. “I had the start in Drummondville and then the Canada-Russia Series. I got myself an invite for the World Junior team, made the team, and we were over in the Czech Republic, won the World Junior medal.
“Then I flew back and had the Top Prospects Game, got traded, and I made my way to Chicoutimi.
“And then COVID came all of a sudden and then everything got shut down.
“It was a busy season, but it was fun.”
An eventful season for Mercer, for sure.
An impressive one, too.
Mercer played well wherever he went, putting up 42 points (18 goals, 24 assists) in 26 games with the Voltigeurs and 18 points (six goals, 12 assists) in 16 games. He potted another two goals and an assist in two games against Russia in the Canada-Russia Series, and won a gold medal with Canada at the 2020 IIHF World Junior Championship.
Despite the packed schedule, Mercer embraced his calendar.
“I like the busy,” Mercer said. “I don’t like the smooth-sailing, nothing going on, normal schedule. So, when I have all those events, I like to enjoy them and take the opportunities from them.”
The trade from Drummondville to Chicoutimi added to the chaos of Mercer’s season, coming less than 24 hours after winning World Junior gold.
In fact, he came back home and played in the Top Prospect’s Game as a member of the Sagueneens before ever suiting up for them in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League.
“We had a lot of key players [in Chicoutimi],” said Mercer, No. 13 in FCHockey’s Final ranking for the 2020 draft. “We had guys that had won the President’s Cup and the Memorial Cup before. We had an older, veteran team. I liked the transition.
“We had a group of new guys coming in and the guys on the team did a good job of welcoming everyone and I think just going to that team we had a solid group to go for the Cup and I just would have liked to see what the outcome could have been.”
But with the COVID-19 pandemic, that busy schedule slammed on the breaks, leaving what could have been a promising playoff run as a hypothetical.
And the delayed draft has left him with a stretched out waiting game to hear his name called.
“Knowing that it could have happened, and we could have been at NHL camps already,” Mercer began. “I want to know what team is going to pick me up and what organization I’m going to be with.
“Just to get that process started and to know where I’ll be playing in the future, that would be a nice feeling.”
This drawn-out process has given draft-eligible prospects an extended period of time to think about which team might take them in the 2020 NHL Draft.
But for Mercer, he brings his laid-back approach to the draft.
“Honestly, the team that picks me is the team that wants me the most,” Mercer said. “I just want to go to a good organization where they take care of their players. I just want to make sure we make that good connection.
“During the interviews, I make sure they know exactly who I am because I want to go to a team that knows who I am, they know who they’re getting in a player and in a person. I’m just excited to see which team picks me and I want to get started with them. “
Those interviews were happening often when the NHL Draft date was up in the air but have quieted down since.
“Basically, I spoke to everyone like I would to any other team,” Mercer said. “I enjoyed doing the interviews. I want to make sure they know who I am and what type of player and person they’re getting.
“I think if I do that, when I walk in that day, I speak to them like I’ve known them for three years, and hopefully everyone gets off to a good start.”
With the date of the draft set for October 9, 2020, Mercer now has a date to look forward to.
For now, he’ll continue to wait until his schedule can get back to its jam-packed norm.