Mario Ferraro says he models his game after Drew Doughty, but a comparison to Brent Burns might be more apt. The offensive-minded defenseman scored 8 goals and 33 assists, ranking him second on his team and second among USHL defensemen this past season with the Des Moines Buccaneers.
He also caught the attention of the Sharks. Though rankings had Ferraro somewhere in the third round or later, the Sharks reached to take him in the second round at 49th overall in the 2017 draft. With their next pick at 123rd overall, the second round was the Sharks’ best chance to land the blueliner.
Officially, Ferraro is listed at 5’11”, but he falls just a bit shy of the mark and weighs in at 185 pounds, making him slightly under-sized for a defenseman. Despite that, Ferraro plays bigger than his size, demonstrating an impressive hockey sense. He’s a strong skater, with quick first steps and flexibility through the hips that makes him agile.
Ferraro is committed to the University of Massachusetts-Amherst to play NCAA Division I hockey this fall. UMass has had a difficult few seasons, only winning 13 games in the past two years. While they hope Ferraro is going to have a role in turning their luck around, he’s likely going to be in the shadow of Cale Makar, another defenseman who went fourth overall to the Colorado Avalanche in the 2017 draft.
Or maybe not. Ferraro has a reputation for his incredible work ethic.
“My motto was always to work harder than the guy next to me. Hard work has always been my brand, something I like to bring every night. That’s what I’m going to do next year at UMass.”
For a player who worked his way up through the Ontario Junior A Hockey League to become one of the top scoring defensemen in the USHL, passing Makar certainly seems possible.
Name: Mario Ferraro
Age (as of 9/9/17): 18
Last Year’s Ranking: N/A
2016-17 Team: Des Moines Buccaneers, USHL
Where he’ll (probably) be next year: University of Massachusetts-Amherst, NCAA
What we like
Ferraro has a strong play-making ability, paired with agility and puck control.
What to improve on
To call on a cliche: you can’t teach size. As far as things within his control, though, there’s always a concern with offensive defensemen that they sacrifice defensive play. That’ll be something to watch in his development.
Also he’s a Cavs fan. Terrible.
Unfortunately, there isn’t much tape of Ferraro’s season. Here are some more draft videos instead:
And hey, if the kid can’t grow a beard, he’s always got this flow to fall back on: