There’s no such thing as a well-timed injury, but when this one happened is particularly unfortunate.
Nick Merkley sustained an upper-body injury during a prospects game and will be out for the next two weeks, Coyotes GM Don Maloney told Dave Vest. Unless he returns earlier than projected, that would rule him out for every preseason game except for the Coyotes’ contest against San Jose on Oct. 2.
Arizona selected Merkley with the 30th overall pick of the 2015 NHL Entry Draft, which it acquired from Chicago as part of the Antoine Vermette trade. It would have been surprising if Merkley had made the team, but this might rob him of an early opportunity to work with NHL players and get a good feel for what will be required of him at the next level.
That said, this of course doesn’t change the fact that Merkley is a promising prospect and one of many that are now tied to the Coyotes. In a few years he could be part of a young and exciting core of forwards in Arizona that might also include Dylan Strome, Henrik Samuelsson, Max Domi, and Anthony Duclair.