This is the guy everyone is going to be watching tonight. Merkley is set to make his NHL debut, donning the number six (an interesting number for a kid who isn’t going to make the pro roster).
Ryan Merkley was the San Jose Sharks first round pick in this years draft and according to some, Merkley is projected to be the second best defenseman in this class. He was projected anywhere from the top ten, to out of the first round completely by some, due to character concerns. But what seventeen year old doesn’t have character concerns?
Merkely had extremely high expectations even before he laced up his skates in San Jose. His numbers at Guelph were not off the charts, but as the best player on a bad OHL team, that was to be expected. But it was Merkley’s offensive prowess and eye for the puck that made scouts jaws drop.
He’s been compared to Brent Burns offensively and even defensively as he’s often times had lapses in his own zone. But nothing good coaching and a bit of big league experience can’t clean up.
All eyes will be on number six tonight as he makes his NHL debut.