Our 50th Anniversary countdown to the season continues! With 49 days to go, we look at the Los Angeles Kings’ #49, Michael Mersch.
The Kings currently have fourteen forwards under full-time, one-way NHL contracts. This means that in order to send one of these players down to the Ontario Reign, LA would have to expose said player to waivers. Mersch is not one of these players, which immediately puts him at a disadvantage compared to Jordan Nolan, Andy Andreoff, Nick Shore, and Michael Latta. Even a good preseason might not be enough for him, or for Nic Dowd.
Of course, even if Mersch finds himself in Ontario to start the year again, one injury probably brings him right back up and (if last year is any indication) straight into the lineup. What kind of impact might he have? Let’s remind you what the last few AHL forwards to earn a midseason call-up did for a follow-up.
- Dwight King: 27 games in 2011-12, 47 games in (lockout-shortened) 2012-13. Stanley Cup boost helped him start his second year in LA.
- Jordan Nolan: 26 games in 2011-12, 44 games in (lockout-shortened) 2012-13. Ditto.
- Tyler Toffoli: 10 games in (shortened) 2012-13, 62 games in 2013-14. Started in the AHL but was called up in November 2013, and after surviving a baffling January demotion, he never looked back.
- Tanner Pearson: 25 games in 2013-14, 42 games in (injury-shortened) 2014-15. Another guy whose Stanley Cup showing locked him in for the following year.
- Linden Vey: 18 games in 2013-14, traded to Vancouver after the season.
- Nick Shore: 34 games in 2014-15, 68 games in 2015-16. Made the team to start 2015-16.
- Andy Andreoff: 18 games in 2014-15, 60 games in 2015-16. Also made the team to start 2015-16.
- Jordan Weal: 10 games in 2015-16, traded to Philadelphia mid-season.
Our common belief is that the organization is loath to give its young forwards lineup spots, but it has seemed that once a guy gets his first shot, he doesn’t spend a whole lot of time in the minors the next season. However, those can be usually chalked up to roster math or to playoff shine, neither of which are on Mersch’s side. Will Mersch follow the trend anyway? At the very least, it seems like he’ll get a fair shot.
Tomorrow: why 48 should be a very familiar number for us.