Ryan Merkley

Aaron Vickers

Merkley is a high-tempo, smart, offensive-minded defenseman…shifty, with elite skating ability…smooth transitions from forwards to backwards…possesses explosive acceleration, and makes plays at top end speeds…isn’t afraid to lead the rush, and hold onto the puck in hopes of creating a play in the offensive zone…vision up the ice is absolutely elite…impressive when quarterbacking the power play and doing a good job of making consistently accurate breakout passes…has a deceptive slap-pass to teammates around the net…has a knack for getting the puck to the net through traffic with a quick, accurate release…his quick decision making and ability to read the play that really stand out…a good job of judging when to cover the front of the net or to go pressure the puck-carrier behind the net…good job of tracking players across his zone and using his stick to close off their passing options and take away space…will need to hit the weight room and improve defensive zone play…very high ceiling but also some risk…has high-end NHL upside generating offense from the back-end. (July 2018)