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SJHN Daily: Merkley Not Qualified by Avalanche



Credit: San Jose Barracuda

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.

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:

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:

Ryan Merkley on What Went Wrong With Sharks, What’s Going Right in Colorado (+)

Who will take a flier on Merkley this summer?


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