As a member of the brand new world junior hockey champions and an expected first-round selection in the 2020 National Hockey League Entry Draft, Newfoundlander Dawson Mercer can be described as a young hockey player who is going places.
That would be in the figurative sense, but the “going places” line has a literal application as well. That’s because a Quebec Major Junior Hockey League trade involving the 18-year-old from Bay Roberts was made official Monday, the day after Mercer and his Team Canada won the gold medal at the 2020 IIHF world junior hockey championship in the Czech Republic with a 4-3 win over Russia.
The deal, which sends Mercer from the Drummondville Voltigeurs to the Chicoutimi Sagueneens, had actually had been made prior to the world championship, but wasn’t announced until completion of the tourney.
The Sagueneens paid a huge price to acquire Mercer, who had 42 points (18G, 24A) in 26 games this season for the Voltigeurs, sending five draft picks — two first-rounders, two second-rounders, and a fourth-round selection — along with young forward William Dufour to Drummondville.
Dufour had actually joined the Voltigeurs in mid-December, but the first-round selection Chicoutimi acquired at the time was sent back to Drummondville on Monday … and that was in addition to the other two first-rounders in the Mercer transaction.
The outlay by the Sagueneens is an indication both of Mercer’s considerable talents and the fact he has another year of junior eligibility beyond this season (which also means he is in line to play for Canada in the 2021 world junior championship).
A six-foot, 180-pound centre/right-winger, Mercer has been rated an ‘A’ prospect by NHL Central Scouting, meaning he is predicted first-round draft pick this June.
Monday’s trade certainly increases Mercer’s shot at a being part of another championship team this season.
Drummondville (24-15-0) is in a playoff position, but Chicoutimi (27-7-4) has the second-best record in the QMJHL and is the fifth-ranked team in all of major junior hockey under the CHL umbrella. And the Sagueneens’ activity during the latest QMJHL trading period certainly shows they’re a team that’s seriously going after a Presidents Cup league title and berth in the Memorial Cup championship.
Since mid-December, Chicoutimi has swung no less than a dozen trades. In doing so, it has acquired seven players, including Mercer and his Team Canada teammate Raphael Lavoie (from Halifax), while giving up four players and pile of draft picks; in fact, the Sags will exit the trading period with four fewer future first-round picks then they had when the trade window opened.
Newfoundlanders were traded for each other in another ‘Q’ deal
Dawson Mercer was one of three Newfoundlanders who changed teams over the QMJHL trade period … and the other two players were actually swapped for each other.
That trade saw centre and St. John’s native Mark Rumsey sent from the Moncton Wildcats to the Acadie-Bathurst Titan in exchange for winger Liam Leonard of Clarenville.
The Wildcats, who have the best record in the QMJHL, added experience in Leonard, who turns 20 in March and is in his second full season in the league; he had 14 goals and 21 assists in 90 games overall with the Titan.
The 18-year-old Rumsey, who is in his first QMJHL campaign, has seven goals and nine assists in 30 games. That includes a goal and an assist picked up in two weekend contests with Acadie-Bathurst.