A pair of New Jersey Devils prospects made a splash last night, one with a beautiful shorthanded tally and the other with his first professional goal. A Washington Capitals goaltending hopeful made a spectacular save. Meanwhile, the son of an NHL All-Star is climbing up the draft boards.
Dawson Mercer & Graeme Clarke Light the Lamp
This past October, the Devils used their second of three first-round picks to select Mercer out of the Quebec Major Junior League (QMJHL). The 19-year-old right winger’s skill set was on full display Saturday night as he scored a hat trick and added an assist in the Chicoutimi Sagueneens’ 9-5 win over Baie-Comeau Drakkar.
His second of three goals was this amazing solo effort while on the penalty kill.
Mercer literally did it all on this play, starting with lifting the stick and forcing a turnover on the backcheck. Then he took the puck from below his own goal line, skated up the length of the ice, and fired a shot back to his left with a defender draped all over him. He now has 13 goals and 25 points in 16 QMJHL games.
From juniors to the professional ranks, we catch up with Clarke, the Devils’ third-round pick (80th overall) of the 2019 NHL Entry Draft. After playing six games, on loan, for HC Nove Zamky in Slovakia, he is back in the American Hockey League (AHL) with the Binghamton Devils.
Things started well for the Devils on Saturday night as Graeme’s first professional goal gave them a 3-0 lead just nine minutes into the game. Nolan Foote and Jesper Boqvist picked up the assists on the play.
It all fell apart shortly after this as the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins scored two goals in 26 seconds on their way to a 6-3 win. Graeme’s goal came just hours after he signed an entry-level contract with New Jersey. Prior to this season, he played 134 Ontario Hockey League (OHL) games for the Ottawa 67’s, scoring 46 goals and 76 points.
Garin Bjorklund Commits Robbery
The Western Hockey League (WHL) is slowly getting all their teams back on the ice. The five teams based in Alberta are into their second weekend of games. On Saturday night, the Medicine Hat Tigers hosted the undefeated Edmonton Oil Kings.
Shortly after Ryan Chyzowski gave the Tigers a 1-0 lead, the talented Dylan Guenther had a clear path to the game-tying goal, but Bjorklund was able to stretch out just far enough to keep the puck out of his net.
The Oil Kings scored the final three goals of the night to win 3-1 and improve to 4-0-0 on the shortened 24-game season.
The Capitals selected Bjorklund in the sixth round (179th overall) of the 2020 NHL Entry Draft. He played four games with the Grande Prairie Storm in the Alberta Junior Hockey League (AJHL) while waiting for the WHL season to get going. He posted a .935 save percentage (SV%) and 2.73 goals-against average. In 34 career games with Medicine Hat, he has 24 wins to go with a .897 SV% and 2.90 GAA.
Josh Doan Joins the 50-Point Club
The United States Hockey League (USHL) currently has four players who have scored 50 points or more this season, and they all play for the Chicago Steel. Montreal Canadiens prospects Sean Farrell leads the league with 70 points (22 G, 48 A), and Matt Coronato follows him with 61 (33 G, 28 A), and Erik Middendorf has 51 (24 G, 27 A).
Doan joined the club last night during the Steel’s 7-5 loss at the Muskegon Lumberjacks. His 22nd goal of the season gave Chicago a 3-2 in the second period as he racked up his 50th point in 37 games.
Doan went undrafted at the 2020 NHL Entry Draft but is not going to get passed up again this summer. The son of Arizona Coyotes legend Shane Doan is committed to playing in his home state next season at Arizona State University.
Greg Boysen has been writing about the Chicago Blackhawks since 2010 and has been a site manager for both FanSided and SB Nation. He has been published in The Hockey News and was fully credentialed for the 2013 Stanley Cup Final. Among his various roles with The Hockey Writers are covering the Blackhawks, the AHL, writing the daily “Today in Hockey History” column, serving as a copy editor, and appearing and hosting multiple YouTube shows, including Blackhawks Banter. He is credentialed with the Chicago Wolves, Rockford IceHogs, and Milwaukee Admirals, while also being a regional scout for the NAHL. And, just because his plate isn’t full enough, Greg hosts trivia in the Chicago area two nights a week. For interview requests or to provide topic suggestions, follow Greg on Twitter and reach out.