Earlier this weekend, Sheng Peng of San Jose Hockey Now reported that the San Jose Sharks were in talks to send a depth defenseman out east to the New Jersey Devils in exchange for a depth forward. The same day, Kevin Weekes of ESPN hinted at further developments of talks between the Sharks and Devils, amidst rumors that the Devils were interested in Timo Meier.
After a few days, the trade between the Sharks and Devils was officially announced as a tried and true depth trade. The Sharks announced today that they had acquired the signing right to forward Nick Merkley from the Devils in exchange for defender Christian Jaros.
Merkley, who has no relation to Sharks defensive prospect Ryan Merkley, played in 20 games for the Devils last season, scoring two goals and collecting eight assists. He also played in five games for the American Hockey League’s Binghamton Devils, scoring one goal and tallying two assists.
Merkley was originally a first-round pick by the Arizona Coyotes, taken 30th overall in the 2015 NHL Entry Draft. He signed his three-year, entry-level contract with the team that summer. Merkley spent parts of three season with their AHL affiliate, the Tucson Roadrunners, until he was traded to New Jersey in December 2019 as part of the package for Taylor Hall. He signed a one-year deal with the Devils worth $874,125 last October.
“Nick is a competitive and skilled forward who was a first round draft selection in 2015,” said Sharks Assistant General Manager Joe Will in a press release earlier today. “He has shown good progression in his young career and adds versatility to our organization’s forward depth.”
Merkley is a pending restricted free agent, so the Sharks will need to tender him a qualifying offer by the end of the day, as today is the final day that NHL teams can issue qualifying offers to their restricted free agents before NHL free agency begins on Wednesday, July 28.
The Devils immediately signed Jaros to a one-year, two-way contract worth $800,000.