Former San Jose Sharks defenseman Ryan Merkley signed with the Kontinental Hockey League’s Kunlun Red Star this week. Five years ago, even three years ago, no one would have guessed this kind of move was in his future.
When the Sharks drafted defenseman Merkley 21st overall in 2018, they believed he could develop into a puck-moving NHL defenseman. They presumably were still thinking that two years later after he put up 15 goals and 76 points in 61 games for the Ontario Hockey League’s London Knights.
Merkley had 19 points in 30 games in the American Hockey League and that earned his shot at the NHL. He played 39 games with the Sharks in 2020-21. Hockey Now’s Sheng Peng wrote that Merkley did not establish himself offensively or defensively.
Promise gave way to disappointment.
Merkley eventually asked for a trade, and it was presumed he would get another chance. The Avalanche acquired him in a four-player swap in January. But Merkley never got out of the AHL. The Avalanche didn’t give him a qualifying offer.
Now he is playing for a Chinese team that has been playing its home games in Moscow since 2020-21 because of Covid.
Merkley obviously is hoping he can play well enough to get back to North America. Colorado Hockey Now writer Evan Rawal is not optimistic about Merkley’s chances.
2018 1st RD pick (21st overall), Ryan Merkley has signed a contract with Kunlun Red Star of the KHL. https://t.co/nJdnbgrnOV
— CapFriendly (@CapFriendly) August 18, 2023
Red Wings Offseason
The media is reporting that defenseman Axel Sandin Pellikka continues to look impressive in Skelleftea’s preseason in the Swedish Hockey League. His No. 1 attribute is his slickness with the puck.
— IcehockeyGifs (@IcehockeyG) August 17, 2023
Red Wings In Case You Missed It
- Bob Duff explains how Gustav Lindstrom had run out of chances with the Red Wings. It wasn’t difficult to give him up in the Petry trade.
- Former Red Wings player Danny Dekeyser is entering the Western Michigan University Hockey Hall of Fame.
- Is there anything more fitting than the Red Wings giving away a Brendan Shanahan bobblehead on St. Patrick’s Day?
- The Red Wings were represented at the Marian Hossa Night of Celebrations.
Hockey Now Network
Buffalo: General manager Kevyn Adams traded defenseman Ilya Lyubushkin to the Anaheim Ducks for a fourth-round draft pick. The Buffalo Sabres had a surplus of defenseman.
Chicago: Nate Brown sorts out the Chicago prospect list in terms of which youngsters have a strong chance of making the Chicago Blackhawks roster.
Colorado: The Avs signed Matthew Steinberg (63rd overall, 2019) to an entry level contract. Colorado Avalanche.
Montreal: Marc Dumont weighs in on the subject of the most underrated Habs. It’s a fun read. Montreal Canadiens
Nashville: Thanks to a new contract, Cody Glass knows he belongs in the NHL. Nashville Predators.
Philadelphia: How could Claude Giroux not be on the list of sure Hall of Famers? Hockey Now’s Chuck Bausman is asking. Philadelphia Flyers.
Vegas: Chris Gawlik lays down a path for Jonathan Marchessault to land that contract extension. Vegas Golden Knights.