Toronto Maple Leafs: 2018 NHL Draft Player Rankings

BUFFALO, NY - JANUARY 4: Rasmus Dahlin
BUFFALO, NY - JANUARY 4: Rasmus Dahlin /
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Pure offensive blue-liner

Average Ranking: 19

"“Roving playmaker from the blueline with excellent speed and a superior understanding of his responsibilites as a jump-starter and attacker. Merkley is pure offense in every sense of the term, and it seems as everything he does with the puck has a cherry on top. He is a commanding presence who carries the puck as well as he dishes it out, and you can always count on him to find the open man, especially back-door and off the rush.” (Steve Kournianos, The Draft Analyst)"

Merkley is one of, if not the purest offensive defenders in this draft. Standing at 5 foot 11 and 170 lbs, he’ll need to put on some weight to get going in the pros.

Last season, Merkley had 55 points, with 42 of those being primary points, a huge number for the defender.

This season, Merkley has 50 points, putting him tied for tops in the OHL for defensive scoring.

Average Ranking: 20

"“Being reunited with Max Fortier has allowed Groulx to speed up development in his offensive game. He has enough sneaky skill that when you consider his bite, it lets you project him in a variety of roles at the next level.” (Sam Cosentino, Sportsnet)"

Born in Rouen, France. Groulx has made his transition from AAA hockey in Gatineau to the QMJHL. In 46 games this season with the Mooseheads, Groulx has 35 points. He currently sits fifth on Halifax in scoring and well back of the league lead in points.

His 67 penalty minutes this season is 16th-best in the league, however. So when his offensive game does reach its full potential, you’ll know he’s got the bite to go up against anyone.