Ryan Merkley

San Jose Sharks
Photo courtesy of GuelphStorm.com

Fantasy Summary

Elite offensive defenseman with huge offensive upside. Concerns about his character and defensive play make him a bit risky, though.


Attributes
Fantasy Upside 9.0
NHL Certainty 4.0
Country CAN
Position D
Roster Type System
Shoot/Glove Right
Date of Birth August 14, 2000
Height 5‘11”
Weight 170 lbs
Drafted 2018 Round 1; Overall: 21

Observations

November 2018 – Merkley is up to 22 points through 15 OHL games this season as he continues his absolutely torrid pace. The unfortunate reality with Merkley is that we aren’t really learning anything we didn’t already know. He’s an elite offensive defenseman at the OHL level, he’s really too good for the OHL. The question is always going to be does he have the right mindset to succeed at a higher level. For my money these concerns have been overblown and Merkley is going to make a few amateur scouts look bad when he arrives in the NHL. Chris Legg

October 2018 – Merkley suffered a bit of a scare during a game against the Flint Firebirds. Merkley blocked a shot in the second period of the game and was forced to leave the ice early. Fortunately that’s all the time the Sharks prospect would miss as he returned for Guelph’s weekend set of three games in three nights. Merkley posted four points in those three games including three points in Guelph’s Sunday game against the London Knights. That brings Merkley to ten points in seven games for a 1.43 PPG pace, slightly better than the 1.06 PPG he put up last season. Merkley is looking like he is going to dominate the OHL on the scoreboard this year and make the Sharks look very smart for drafting him late in the first round. He’s a fantasy asset to keep an eye on and should be near the top of the list when it comes to offensive defense prospects. Chris Legg

September 2018 – Merkley impressed in his first game action with the Sharks organization. The defender lived up to his billing as he had moments where he flashed his considerable talent and a few lapses in judgement leading to late penalties. Perhaps the most encouraging sign for Merkley was his defensive play. He showed a level of determination that some thought he did not have, skating back into his zone and breaking up plays. His offensive talent was never really in question and he displayed his ability to transport the puck through all three zones. All the more impressive, Merkley was the youngest player on the Sharks rookie squad. Merkley will likely head back to the Guelph Storm after gathering some experience in Sharks training camp and some pre-season games. If you can afford to wait a year or two, Merkley is the Sharks prospect to target for your fantasy team. Chris Legg

June 2018 – The Sharks stepped up to grab Ryan Merkley, a slick defender from the OHL’s Guelph Storm with the 21st overall pick in the 2018 NHL entry draft. Merkley was a wild card in the draft, scouts ranked him anywhere from the top 10 to somewhere in the second round. One thing is certain with Merkley, his skill is worthy of the top of the draft. Regarded as the best passer in the draft, he finds his teammates through seams and more often than not, places the puck right on the tape. His skating is high end as well, he uses his edges to find space on the power play and get his shot through to the net. The knock on Merkley is his commitment to defence and his work ethic. Some have labelled him un-coachable. It remains to be seen if he can shed this label, for now he is the definition of a boom or bust prospect. The Sharks believe in the character of their room and if they can extract Merkley’s potential, they will have hit a home run with this pick. Chris Legg

November 2017 – Ryan Merkley is a dynamic offensive defenseman with the Guelph Storm in the OHL. Merkley was the first overall pick in the 2016 OHL Priority Selection in 2016, he won the OHL rookie of the year award with most points by a rookie with 55 and in his draft eligible season he is posting over a point per game pace with seven goals and 29 points in the first 23 games.

Merkley is an exceptional skater with an explosive first step acceleration, high end top gear and shifty lateral agility. Merkley sees the ice offensively very well, is an exceptional puck distributor and generates offensive transition as good as any defenseman in his draft class. The concerns with Merkley are he is undersized and struggles with physical battles against bigger stronger opposition. But the main concern is his inability to defend effectively, his reads in the defensive zone are weak, and he chases the play out of position. When he has the puck on his stick, he is an elite player, but when the other team has possession he becomes a liability. The question is can he continue to develop his defensive game and evolve similarly to Samuel Girard, or will he fail to establish an adequate defensive skill set and cap out in the AHL like Anthony DeAngelo? –  Peter Harling


Stats

 Season Team League GP G A TP PIM      Playoffs GP G A TP PIM 
 2013-2014 Toronto Jr. Canadiens Bantam AAA GTBHL - - - - - |          
  Toronto Jr. Canadi. Mn Mdgt AAA GTMMHL 1 0 0 0 0 |          
 2014-2015 Toronto Jr. Canadi. Mn Mdgt AAA GTMMHL - - - - - |          
  Toronto Jr. Canadi. Mn Mdgt AAA OHL Cup 5 0 5 5 4 |          
  Sweden Selects U15 WSI U15 7 1 4 5 0 |          
 2015-2016 Toronto Jr. Canadi. Mn Mdgt AAA GTMMHL 33 7 37 44 58 |          
  Toronto Jr. Canadiens OJHL 2 0 0 0 0 |          
  Toronto Jr. Canadi. Mn Mdgt AAA OHL Cup 6 1 3 4 12 |          
  Team GTHL Blue OGC-16 5 1 7 8 8 |          
  Canada U16 YOG 6 1 4 5 1 |          
 2016-2017 Guelph Storm OHL 62 12 43 55 50 |          
  Canada Red U17 WHC-17 5 2 0 2 8 |          
 2017-2018 Canada U18 Hlinka Gretzky Cup 5 0 6 6 10 |          
  Guelph Storm OHL 63 13 54 67 63 | Playoffs 6 1 5 6 10 
  Canada U18 WJC-18 5 0 3 3 2 |          
 2018-2019 Guelph Storm OHL 17 4 21 25 10 |          

Highlights