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Sharks Organization Reacts to Merkley Trade Request

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Credit: Hockey Shots/Dean Tait

The San Jose Sharks front office was hit with a trade request from former first-round pick Ryan Merkley Tuesday morning.

Merkley is currently with the club’s AHL team, the San Jose Barracuda, and has yet to play a game in the NHL this season. That’s a surprise, as the 2018 first-round pick was expected to land a job with the big club this year, after 39 NHL games last year.

BREAKING: Ryan Merkley Requests Trade

But it hasn’t been a smooth season for Merkley, in the last year of his entry-level contract. He was benched in the second and third periods of a Dec. 27 game versus the Bakersfield Condors.

Today after Barracuda practice, head coach John McCarthy told the media that he was just as surprised as everyone else when he found out about the trade request. McCarthy also discussed his decision to bench Merkley last week.

“Just a little bit of urgency, I’d say. Urgency to go back to the puck, a little bit of defensive detail,” McCarthy told San Jose Hockey Now.

He added: “He wants to get better. He wants to help the team. So there’s going to be an element of frustration there, and I understand that, but the fact of the matter is, we have to do what we think is best for his development and what’s best for our team.”

Merkley did not participate in Barracuda practice today, but did work out off-ice. McCarthy says it was a pre-planned day off for Merkley.

Meanwhile, San Jose Sharks head coach David Quinn has been in McCarthy’s seat, benching a highly-touted prospect. Quinn received plenty of criticism for sitting Kappo Kakko in Jan. 2020, from comedian Larry David of all people.

“I went through this in New York. When a guy gets benched that’s 21, 22 years old, and people make such a big deal out of it,” Quinn said. “I guess because of the visibility of every athlete in this day and age and the society we live in. [But] it’s just part of growing and development.”

It was Quinn, ultimately, who made the final call to not start the season with the 22-year-old blueliner in the first place.

“Probably just the consistency with his competitiveness,” Quinn told SJHN about Merkley’s training camp. “A very talented player. As a lot of young players do, they’re learning what it takes to play in the National Hockey League.”

He added: “You have to have enough talent to play in this league, but then you better acquire or have all these other characteristics that allow you to stay in this league and be successful in this league night in and night out.”

After both teams practiced, Quinn and McCarthy confirmed that there would be a meeting between coaches and front office staff on how to proceed with the San Jose Sharks prospect.

San Jose Sharks GM Mike Grier declined comment to SJHN.

It is still a question if Merkley will be in the lineup for the Barracuda’s game tomorrow against the Henderson Silver Knights.

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