ROCHESTER, N.Y. – Recently, the Rochester Americans re-signed veteran defenseman Michael Mersch to a new American Hockey League contract for the 2022-23 season.
It is not a long-term deal, but it is a well-deserved and needed contract for both parties. Mersch can continue his career in hockey in the same city he’s played in for the past two seasons, which is a big benefit to him. In regards to the Americans, this was a move that had to be done as Mersch brings a ton of value and experience to this team.
Though, there are three main traits that Mersch brings to the Americans that made this deal make sense:
1. Leadership Skills
Bringing Mersch back was a no-brainer here. After all, he was the team captain last season. His leadership definitely contributed to the Rochester Americans making the playoffs last season. Mersch’s leadership carried his team to the North Division Finals, where they ultimately were swept by the Laval Rocket.
Plus, anytime a player keeps getting a leadership letter on their jersey, that immediately tells how much respect he’s had from the players and coaches in the locker room. It also doesn’t hurt that Mersch had a career year for the team last year. All considered, it would have been a big mistake for the Americans not to bring him back
2. Valuable Experience
Experience in both the regular season and playoffs in the AHL has value: especially when you are charged with developing the NHL’s future stars. Mersch has 49 games in the Calder Cup Playoffs with the Manchester Monarchs, Ontario Reign, and, of course, the Rochester Americans.
He was drafted 110th overall by the Los Angeles Kings in the 2011 NHL Draft. While almost all of his pro career has been in the AHL, he did play 17 games with the Kings in the 2015-16 season.
No matter what, you can’t take away the amount of experience Mersch brings to the team. That experience can help develop and guide younger players as they prepare for their NHL call-ups.
3. High Offensive Contributor
Remember earlier when I said Mersch had a career year with the Americans last season? Well, at one point, he was a Top 5 player in the entire AHL and was their best contributor on offense. He even impressed many with his impressive shooting when on his knees. Need proof? Check out this clip:
Mersch would probably have had a stronger statistical season if not for that lower-body injury that took him out for a few weeks.
Now that Mersch is officially back with the Americans, there are only two questions to ask. Can Mersch perform the way he did last season, and will he provide even more strengths to the Americans?
With the Americans’ season getting underway on Friday, October 14, against the Toronto Marlies, fans won’t have long to wait to find out.
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