NHL draft day looms for Storm Players

Terry Wilson/OHL Images

By Tony Saxon, Guelph

National Hockey League teams are well aware of what Ryan Merkley’s strengths are.

The Guelph Storm defenceman has proven time and time again that he has an unbelievable offensive skill set and on-ice vision.

But heading into Saturday’s NHL draft in Dallas, it’s not his skill set that the NHL brass wanted to talk to him about in the 20 interviews he did during the recent NHL Combine in Buffalo.

“It was all focused on the same stuff: defence, body language … those things. But I kind of knew what to expect going in, so I wasn’t really surprised,” the 5-foot-10, 168-pound Mississauga native said.

“That’s what they all want to know about: what they’re going to have to take a chance on, the negatives,” Merkley said.

“Offensively, they all know what I can do. It’s about the other things that I need to grow and improve on.”

Merkley has been known to sulk on the ice and let his frustrations get the better of him on the bench. Those things don’t go unnoticed by scouts.

“I’ve got to get better in those areas. I know that,” Merkley said. “I’ve dealt with it for a while now.”

Merkley is projected to be drafted somewhere between late in the first round and early in the second round this weekend. Teammate Cam Hillis is seen as a top four round pick.

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