After we told you earlier this week about Newfoundlanders Alex Newhook and Brett Budgell being ranked 16th and 105th, respectively, by NHL Central Scouting for the 2019 National Hockey League Entry Draft, we were asked by more than a few as to why Bay Roberts native Dawson Mercer, a forward with the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League’s Drummondville Voltigeurs, wasn’t included in the rankings.
Wasn’t Mercer born in 2001, like Newhook and Budgell? And wasn’t he having a standout season with the Voltigeurs?
The questioners were right on both counts, but the reason Mercer won’t be drafted in Vancouver in June is fairly simple: he has the wrong birthdate.
Yes, within Hockey Canada, selection for age-group teams is based upon birth year. So, for that matter is draft eligibility in the QMJHL; Mercer, Budgell and Newhook were all selections in the 2017 QMJHL draft, where Mercer was the eighth overall pick.
But the NHL Entry Draft has different rules. Players born after Sept. 15, 2001 are not eligible to be selected until 2020, and Mercer’s birth certificate shows he came into this world on Oct. 27 (Newhook, by the way, was born in January, and Budgell in June).
But Mercer’s time will come.
Mercer, a six-foot, 175-pound right-winger, has 49 points — including 26 goals — along with a plus 25 rating, in 45 games. And he’s doing it with a Drummondville team that sits second overall in the QMJHL and is sure to get a lot of focus from scouts down the stretch portion of the regular season and during what could be a very long post-season run.
Mind you, the 2020 NHL draft class, headed up by Canadian world junior player Alex Lafreniere, is considered to be one of the deepest and most promising in the last half dozen years or so. Still, even then Mercer is seen a player who should be rising up the rankings.
This week’s edition of Newfoundlanders Away (the weekly statistical feature available in Wednesday's print and digital editions of The Telegram) shows centre Clark Bishop of St. John’s on the roster of the American Hockey League’s Charlotte Checkers, but the way Bishop’s season is going, that could change any day.
Bishop’s assignment to the Checkers over the weekend marked the 12th time so far in 2018-19 that he had been either called up to the NHL’s Carolina Hurricanes or sent down to the Hurricanes’ farm team in Charlotte.
The 22 year-old Bishop spent four weeks with Carolina during his mot recent NHL stint, but half of that time saw him sidelined by an injury. After he was cleared to resume playing, he was dispatched to the Checkers.
It may be worth noting that the Hurricanes are entering their mandatory bye week (Jan. 25 to 31) that includes the upcoming NHL’s All-Star Weekend.
If it was a one-game audition, Evan White nailed it.
The 19-year-old defenceman from St. John’s was called up by the QMJHL’s Halifax Mooseheads from the St. Stephen Aces of the Maritime Hockey League for a game last weekend when injuries left the Herd with a shortfall on the blueline.
White didn’t have any points as Halifax downed the Acadie-Bathurst Titan 4-1, but he was plus-two.
This wasn’t the first QMJHL experience for White, who is the leading scorer for the junior A Aces; he played a single game for the Titan in 2016-17 and four with the Chicoutimi Sagueneens in 2017-18.
Interestingly, none of the QMJHL teams for which White has played was the one that drafted him. That was Drummondville, which took him in the seventh round in 2015.
By the way, White wasn’t the only Newfoundlander who had a standout performance for Halifax in that win over Acadie-Bathurst. Centre Joel Bishop, also a St. John’s native, had a goal, an assists and a plus-two rating on his way to being named the game’s third star.
And yes, he’s Clark Bishop’s brother.