The Arizona Coyotes have signed 2015 1st round draft pick (30th overall) Nick Merkley to a three-year, entry-level contract, the team announced on Thursday.
Merkley was the team’s second 1st round pick in 2015, following Dylan Strome at 3rd overall, and was a pick acquired from the Chicago Blackhawks in the Antoine Vermette trade at the deadline. (Vermette became a free agent in the summer and returned to the Coyotes.)
Last season the 18-year-old Merkley lead the Kelowna Rockets in scoring with 20 goals and 90 points through 72 regular season games. He was also quite effective in the WHL postseason, putting up five goals and 27 points through 19 games.
Merkley is expected to return to Kelowna following Coyotes camp this year and not make the team out of training camp. However, he’s another key piece in the Arizona rebuild that has them touting one of the best prospect pools in the NHL.
Dustin Nelson is the News Editor for The Hockey Writers. He’s a contributor to Hockey Prospectus, Hockey Wilderness, and writes a column for Rotowire. He’s also written for Gone Puck Wild, Wild Xtra, InDigest, Electric Literature, The Rumpus, Tiny Mix Tapes, Prefix Magazine & other publications. Have a tip? Email him at dlukenelson[at]gmail[dot]com.