Sharks ‘trying to accommodate’ Ryan Merkley trade request

Report: Sharks ‘trying to accommodate’ Merkley trade request originally appeared on NBC Sports Bayarea

One of the Sharks’ former top prospects could be on the move soon.

San Jose has made Ryan Merkley, the team’s first-round pick of the 2018 NHL Draft, available for trade after the 22-year-old defenseman requested they do so, Frank Seravalli of Daily Faceoff reported Tuesday, citing sources.

The Sharks drafted Merkley 21st overall in 2018, and he is in the final year of his entry-level contract without yet making much of an impact on the organization. Merkley made his pro debut during the 2021-22 NHL season, where he appeared in 39 games. This summer, he’ll become a restricted free agent without arbitration rights and currently is waiver-exempt.

After scoring six points at the NHL level last season, Merkley is in his fourth year with the AHL Barracuda and has scored 14 points in 30 games this season. Since 2018, Merkley has posted two goals and 44 points in 93 games with the Barracuda. Merkley was benched for the final 40 minutes of the Barracuda’s Dec. 27 games.

Merkley was viewed by some as a high-risk pick in 2018, with the Santa Cruz Sentinel reporting after his selection that the defenseman had previously been involved in numerous questionable incidents during his time on the Ontario Hockey League’s Guelph Storm.

Merkley in February 2018 was suspended for slashing another player, he got into a heated bench argument with his coach in 2016-17, and he was a healthy scratch for the Storm on more than one occasion because of attitude issues, per the Sentinel. At the time, Merkley told the outlet that he was aware of his bad habits and was in contact with a psychologist to work on them.

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Once considered the Sharks’ top young prospect, Merkley now appears poised for a fresh start on a new team. And maybe that’s exactly what he needs.

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