The Colorado Avalanche aren’t qualifying Ryan Merkley, making him a UFA.
Reported first yesterday by The Athletic’s Peter Baugh, Merkley was the San Jose Sharks’ first-round pick in 2018. Along with Matt Nieto, Merkley was acquired in a prospect swap by the Avs and Sharks that netted San Jose Martin Kaut plus veteran defenseman Jacob MacDonald.
The #Avs also didn’t give Ryan Merkley a qualifying offer. He’s a former first round pick who came over with Matt Nieto for Jacob MacDonald and Martin a Kaut. Merkley will be a UFA July 1. https://t.co/71OaNF0bIT
— Peter Baugh (@Peter_Baugh) June 29, 2023
Merkley was selected 21st-overall in the 2018 NHL Draft and heralded as one of the most skilled defenseman in the class, seeing himself ranked in the top-10 in some rankings. However, concerns about his character and commitment to defense made him drop.
The 22-year-old didn’t play in the NHL this season after posting a goal and six assists in 39 NHL games in 2021-22. He was even benched for two periods by San Jose Barracuda head coach John McCarthy in December before eventually requesting a trade from the organization a week later:
Was Merkley’s benching primarily from the second goal? McCarthy: “a little bit (about) buy-in. Didn’t think he was going”
— Josh Frojelin (@JoshFrojelin) December 28, 2022
Sources say #sjsharks have made 2018 first-round pick D Ryan Merkley available. Merkley recently requested a trade and Sharks are trying to accommodate.
Merkley, 22, has played 39 NHL games and still has waiver eligibility.@DailyFaceoff
— Frank Seravalli (@frank_seravalli) January 3, 2023
Merkley had no goals and 14 assists in 30 games with the Barracuda before the trade. In 28 games for the Colorado Eagles, Merkley put up two goals and eight points. San Jose Hockey Now spoke with Merkley after the trade:
Who will take a flier on Merkley this summer?
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