It’s not every day that an NHL head coach says this about a second-year player.
“I think one day,” San Jose Sharks head coach Bob Boughner said about Mario Ferraro, “you’re going to see him wearing a letter here in San Jose.”
Boughner said this during training camp in January – and nothing’s changed after this season.
“He’s the DJ now too. He really moved almost into the leading group,” alternate captain Tomas Hertl said. “He should. He’s taken a big step. He’s getting the minutes. And every night, he’s proving he can play.”
The sophomore blueliner averaged 22:26 a night, almost seven more minutes than in his rookie campaign. He’s one of just 10 23-or-under blueliners who averaged more than 22 minutes a night, joining Miro Heiskanen, Adam Fox, Zach Werenski, Charlie McAvoy, Cale Makar, Filip Hronek, Samuel Girard, Jakob Chychrun, and Quinn Hughes. That’s select company.
“He’s a new sort of classic NHL defenseman,” Boughner offered. “Not necessarily the biggest guy, but his feet are amazing. Good stick for a young guy, physical, he can exit the zone clean, he makes good heads-up plays in the neutral zone. His feet allow him to keep pucks alive in the offensive zone.”
It was a challenging season for the lottery-bound San Jose Sharks, but Ferraro, like he was last year, was perhaps the team’s most pleasant surprise. Last season, the rookie was not expected to step right into the NHL without an AHL minute. This year, the sophomore was not expected to take the reins as San Jose’s top shutdown defenseman.
But then again, maybe none of this should be a surprise: Every way that Ferraro has impressed since he’s arrived in San Jose, he was doing elsewhere before, be it as a kid in King City, as part of the “Any Boys” Des Moines Buccaneers, or as the “heartbeat” of 2019 National Championship finalist UMass.
“Just make sure you’re the hardest worker out there”
“Growing up, my dad always told me before leaving the car, when he dropped me off for practice, don’t matter the result of today, just make sure you’re the hardest worker out there.”
That’s what Ferraro remembered about youth hockey in King City, just outside Toronto, his father, Robert, a sales manager, and his mother, Diana, a housewife.
Sheng’s Travel Fund
Help fund Sheng's travel! Every dollar goes to the cost of getting to and from Sharks road games.