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McCarthy Sheds Light on Merkley’s Demotion, Cicek’s Promotion (+)

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Credit: Hockey Shots/Dean Tait

PRAGUE — How did 2018 first-round pick Ryan Merkley not make the San Jose Sharks’ Europe trip?

The Sharks were allowed to bring four more players than the standard 23-man roster. Veteran defenseman Markus Nutivaara is hurt. Blueliner Matt Benning, who hasn’t seen serious power play time since 2018-19, is on San Jose’s second PP unit.

Instead, the San Jose Sharks opted to bring fellow 22-year-old prospect Nick Cicek, who’s gone from passed over in the Draft, signed to a San Jose Barracuda contract, to earning himself an NHL deal last year.

Why Didn’t Gushchin, Merkley Make Sharks’ European Roster? How Did Cicek Make It? (+)

It was a question worth calling home about: I spoke with San Jose Barracuda head coach John McCarthy about the team’s message to Merkley, why the Sharks organization thinks this is the best move for him, and the offense-first rearguard’s attitude and conditioning. Then, McCarthy told me what Cicek has been doing right this preseason.

Sheng Peng: I wanted to talk about Ryan Merkley, but also Nick Cicek too. Starting with Ryan, I’m sure he’s very disappointed that he did not make the trip to Europe, what is the message to him either from you or the organization?

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