The Steelheads the ECHL affiliate of the Dallas Stars of the National Hockey League and the Texas Stars of the American Hockey League.
Merchant enjoyed a standout rookie season with the Steelheads in 2016-17, netting 48 points (21g-27a) in 69 regular-season games and adding three assists in four playoff games against the Colorado Eagles. The Eagan, Minn. native also earned a one-game call-up to the Texas Stars of the American Hockey League on April 1. Merchant was tied for second on the team in goals and was fourth in points.
The 23-year-old winger was 14th among ECHL rookies in scoring last season, but he was at his most lethal on the power play. Merchant finished the season with a team-leading 12 power play goals, ranked fifth in the ECHL and second among rookies, as well as 23 power-play points. Merchant was the first Steelheads' rookie to lead the team in power play goal-scoring since the 2012-13 season, and his 12 power play goals were the most by any Steelhead since Mark Derlago in 2010-11.
Prior to turning pro, Merchant played four seasons at the University of Maine from 2012-16, recording 39 points (22g-17a) in 136 games.