The San Jose Sharks 1st round pick in the 2018 draft Ryan Merkley was picked up by the London Knights of the OHL.
There was some concern regarding where the San Jose Sharks blueline prospect was going to end up after his time in training camp. But those issues subsided after it was announced that the Peterborough Petes traded Ryan Merkley to the London Knights.
It’s uncertain as to why the Petes did not want the offensive minded blueliner back on their roster, but his speculated problems with authority might have something to do with it. Nevertheless, the 19-year-old has talent so it’s great news to hear that the kid has a home next season.
Merkley had an interesting experience at Sharks camp. He showed flashes of his high upside especially in his one preseason game versus Anaheim where he recorded two assists. The right handed blueliner blended well with the NHL talent San Jose iced in their 4 – 3 loss to the Ducks.
Unfortunately after this impressive showing Merkley’s time was limited by having to undergo concussion protocol. Despite the young defensemans lack of ice time throughout the preseason the he caught the front offices attention.
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“He shows enough certainly on the hockey IQ and skills part that he fits with the NHLers,” Sharks assistant general manager Joe Will said of Merkley earlier this week.
While he’s exhibited the ability to keep up with the pace of play there are still questions surrounding whether he’s developed into a skater who can put up with the physicality of the game, especially in the daunting Western Conference.
It’s unfortunate that Merkley continues to run into bad luck down at the junior level. The London Knights will be his third team this year which is a tough ask for a 19-year-old kid. Nevertheless he’ll have to make due considering he’s too young to play in the AHL and the Sharks don’t see him fitting on their 23 man roster. So life in the OHL still seems like the only option for San Jose’s prospect.
Regardless of what happens next year it’s hard to argue against Merkley’s upside in Teal. Hopefully next season bodes well for the offensively minded defenseman with the London. His development would benefit from a sense a continuity especially when you take into account the amount of times he’s been traded, so hopefully he sticks on the Knights roster.