What did the San Jose Sharks ask Ryan Merkley to work on when they sent him down last month?
Merkley joined the Locked on Sharks boys to clue us in.
Here are some of the highlights from our fun chat with Ryan — the full interview is below — including a discussion about his “harder” draft process and what he’s best at defensively. He also shares that he’s a big chirper on the ice, who are the “big guys” in Vegas that he was chirping recently? Also, what popular beverage has Merkley never tried? What’s his “disgusting” habit? Who’s the Barracuda locker room DJ?
Merkley, on his Draft interview process:
The draft process was a lot different for me than most prospects.
I think I had it a lot harder, even though that was a lot on myself, for sure.
We weren’t expecting much.
I knew San Jose, I went out to lunch with them before. I met with Doug right after the combine there. I knew there was a good chance. But I wasn’t too sure, I wasn’t getting my hopes up.
From what I was hearing, there was a big range gap there, first, second round, could’ve gone anywhere.
So I was just going in there, hoping.
Merkley, on playing with a target on his back because he was a top OHL and NHL pick:
I think I get that either way. I talk a lot out there. Chirping. I don’t make too many friends out there.
Merkley, on what he’s saying out there:
I don’t know if too many are public-friendly. (laughs) The two big guys on Vegas there, they weren’t too happy with me. [Tyrell] Goulbourne and Jermaine Loewen, those are some big boys, chirping back and forth.
Merkley, on the best chirper on the Barracuda:
There’s a few guys I wouldn’t be chirping back. Vieler. Bergmann. Those guys aren’t afraid to get in there. Gabriel.
Merkley, on the message that the San Jose Sharks gave him when they sent him down:
Just getting reps in. Showing I can play in the defensive zone. Taking a lot of d-zone draws. Playing on the PK.
I haven’t played in almost 11 months. Making that jump after 11 months from juniors to the NHL would be a bit tough.
So just coming in now, getting my reps in, getting some minutes in the A with bigger, stronger men.
Merkley, on his best defensive attribute:
In my defensive area, where I’ve grown is taking time and space away, when they’re coming up into our zone. Having a good gap.
Kyle, Erik, and JD are joined by Sheng Peng of San Jose Hockey Now and future NHL superstar Ryan Merkley. We talk with Ryan about the pandemic’s effect on training camp, the draft process and interviewing with the San Jose Sharks (5:00), getting traded in juniors (11:00). We then dig into how much he chirps on the ice (14:00), living with Brent Burns (20:00), what he needs to work on before making the jump to the NHL (23:30), and some fun lightning-round questions.
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