San Jose Sharks defender Ryan Merkley recently requested a trade and general manager Mike Grier is trying to accommodate, per the Daily Faceoff’s Frank Seravalli. Merkley was the team’s first-round pick in 2018, selected 21st overall by former general manager Doug Wilson and scouting director Doug Wilson Jr. The Oakville, Ontario native is in the third year of his three-year entry-level contract and will become a restricted free agent at the end of this season.
Merkley has played in 39 NHL games with the Sharks, all during the 2021-22 season whilst the roster was heavily impacted by COVID. He scored six points (one goal, five assists) during that time, including two power play points. With the AHL’s San Jose Barracuda, Merkley has totaled 44 points (2 goals, 42 assists) in 93 games played.
This season with the Barracuda, Merkley has scored 14 points, all assists, in 30 games. During a recent game against the Bakersfield Condors, affiliate of the Edmonton Oilers, Merkley did not play during the third period.
“Just a little bit of urgency, I’d say. Urgency to go back to the puck, a little bit of defensive detail,” said Barracuda head coach John McCarthy when asked about the benching.
Merkley has never made the Sharks opening night roster out of training camp, and was notably not brought to Europe for the Global Series at the start of the 2022-23 season. The mother club has called up undrafted defender Nick Cicek twice this season for 10 total games, even bringing him to Prague to open the season against the Nashville Predators.
McCarthy stated this morning that the trade request from Merkley was news to him, and notes that the last game, Dec. 31 against the Coachella Valley Firebirds, was one of his better performances.
McCarthy said he was caught by surprise with the trade request from Merkley. His off-ice work today was planned.— Max Miller (@Real_Max_Miller) January 3, 2023
In July, Fear the Fin named Merkley number five on our Top 25 Sharks Under 25 rankings. Losing Merkley certainly would hurt the organization’s depth, but a trade could ultimately be positive for everyone, as Merkley has seemingly been leap-frogged, but could still fetch a decent return in a trade.
Merkley’s agent J.P. Barry shared the following statement with Bay Area News Group’s Curtis Pashelka: “We feel a change will be better for him opportunity-wise after five years.”