Monday, March 9, 2015

Nick Merkley: The Prolific Passer

Nick Merkley is a dangerous distributor of the puck  

  • Second year forward Nick Merkley did it again. The reining WHL rookie of the year set a new franchise record Saturday night, which in essence got lost in the hoopla of his team setting a new CHL and WHL record for recording 50 wins in three consecutive seasons. Merkley's assist on Tyrell Goulbourne's empty net goal in a 5-2 win over Spokane was his 100th career assist. The impressive part of Merkley's milestone is that it came in only his 133rd career game, setting a new club record for the quickest surge to the 100 assist mark. The previous record was held by Shane McColgan, who took 150 career games to hit the benchmark. To put Merkley's accomplishment into perspective, the soft spoken Calgary resident hit the mark quicker than Portland Winterhawks Nic Petan. Petan, regarded in the WHL as the best pure passer in the 22 team circuit, earned his 100th career assist in his 137th regular season game. What's mind boggling is current teammate Leon Draisaitl earned his 100th career assist in his 125th career game as a member of the Prince Albert Raiders. Driasaitl was picked in the first round because of his play making abilities by the Edmonton Oilers. The Winnipeg Jets plucked Petan in the first round for the exact same reason. Is the Kelowna Rockets prolific passer the next to find his name called to the podium in the opening round in June? We are three and a half months from finding out.  
Top 4 Quickest Rockets to 100 Assists:
Nick Merkley: 100 assists in 133 games 
Shane McColgan: 100 assists in 150 games
Tyson Barrie: 100 assists in 162 games  
Colin Long: 100 assists in 169 games

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