Top 25 San Jose Sharks Under 25: No. 5 Ryan Merkley needs to prove it

Undoubtedly the most anticipated player in the draft by the San Jose Sharks For the past five years – whoever has not been named William Auckland – is the talented defender on offense, Ryan Markley. For anyone who has followed his career, there is good reason to believe he is on his way to becoming a full-time NHL player.

All of his experience in the NHL comes from his debut campaign last season, where he won five assists and netted his first goal in the NHL for 39 games. Despite the modest numbers, Markley easily became a regular option in the third pair after first entering the eighth game of the season while the Sharks struggled with early injuries on the blue line.

Although he has largely divided the community in terms of value, being known as a small defensive player with good skating abilities and good offensive tackles, but lacking defensive qualities, he has undoubtedly improved on the flaws attributed to him a year ago.

This is reflected in Markley’s base numbers. Courses measure the difference of a shot attempt for a player based on the total shots, plus blocks and misses – both for and against – while the player is on the ice in all situations. Finding a Corsi-For percentage of one (CF%) tries to give value to his offensive and defensive effectiveness, with any value above 50 percent indicating that the player’s team holds a grout more often than not with the same player on the ice.

Markley’s CF percentage in 2020-21 AHL’s top performer was clearly 51 percent for 31 games. Playing in the NHL this season, Markley ticks at 49.5 Percentage through 39 games. The comparison shows a slight decline, but is based on the fact that he played this time against better quality opponents in the NHL. There’s nothing to get excited about, but it’s a start, especially for a guy who was selected 21st in the 2018 draft, which is largely considered a controversial choice.

Not much in the potential closet until the last two drafts brought a total of 18 picks, the Sharks took a risk in the drafting of Markley, the kid who had all the potential to be a game changer but was largely valued for the second round due to access problems with coaches and teammates in the young clubs Since joining the Sharks Organization and making his professional debut with the Barracuda in 2018-19, no access issues have been reported, although his defense is still considered somewhat of an area in need of improvement.

Other than that, Markley was given ample opportunity to shine on the sharks’ second power unit. This is due to his ability to create a scam in the blue line to catch the penal killers penetrating their situation – an element in his game that has garnered attention already in his young career.

Markley first joined the Ontario Hockey League (OHL) in 2016. He has some colorful history in this league, having traded twice and playing with three different teams during his four-year youth career. As mentioned, Markley has not always seen eye to eye with coaches and teammates in Junior.

He was drafted first overall in the 2016 OHL Priority Draft by Guelph Storm, but was eventually traded in his third year on the team, selected by the Sharks that year. It was reported that Markley and then-coach Jared Scalda had a number of disagreements that manifested themselves in a number of ways, motivating the trade.

Despite the controversy, the Sharks focused on his elite potential after scoring 161 points during 153 games with the Storm, good enough for 1.05 points per game, an impressive score for a defensive player. Markley has also been selected to represent Canada International for two consecutive years during his young career.

In the year that Markley was drafted into the NHL, he attended the Shark Development Camp and played two games with the Barracuda, which gave San Jose fans a taste of his dynamic play, smooth skating and prestigious vision that earned him the youth fame.

Markley was eventually switched two more times, to and from Peterborough Pitts, before finally settling in London Knights, with his approach quoted in a familiar story and repeated in a trade. During four years in the OHL, scoring 269 points through 248 games at three different clubs, the Sharks gave Markley the longest time possible to develop before becoming a pro.

Since joining the organization, he is still a bit of a polarizing figure, with one camp claiming he is lagging behind in development, now 21, and only defensively able to play in the AHL. The other camp is more forgiving, citing his low use as evidence that he has not yet been given enough opportunity to understand this at the NHL level. For what it’s worth, Markley’s average time on ice (ATOI) in the 2021-22 shark season was 15:23. But should young players earn more opportunities, or should they be given more room to prove themselves? It depends on what your philosophy is, but head coach Bob Bonner seems to agree more with the former, based on Markley’s ATOI so far.

Some see Markley as a future replacement for Brent Burns or Eric Carlson. Admittedly, he has been shown to have some special abilities, doing things like offensive defense, Burns and Carlson, like a quarterback in the power play and moving the disc to a better position. But I would argue that Markley is an offensive defender in his own right, with a different skill set from those of Burns or Carlson.

Still, perhaps when Burns gets the trade-bait treatment during out of this season, Markley’s chances of establishing himself as an important component in the Sharks’ game book increase with the start of next season.

What we love

The sharks were not the only ones tempted by Markley’s raw talent and high ceiling. Before he was elected by San Jose, at least, people from the larger hockey community seemed to have found him on their radar. Adam Herman, from Blueshirt Banter for the New York Rangers, Ranks Markley second. 13 f Wrote it “In the attacking area, Markley may be the best defender in the entire draft; yes, including Dalin.”

Given that Dalin was selected in the first draft in 2018, this is definitely the assessment. Perhaps what Sam Constantino from SportsNet had to say provided the best explanation, Indicates in the first half of his statement that“Based on pure skill only, Markley is a first-round pick.”

When the skill is one part in a handful of required assets to be selected in the first round, the approval is – also – impressive. These are statements that are true to this day. There are plays I have seen Markley do that I have never seen that any other actor can do. His evasions with a foreplay pressure on him, his maneuverability to create an open path at the point, and his vision to find the open player for delivery are all skills that have not received enough attention.

Areas of improvement

The second half of Constantino’s statement about Markley: “There are many layers to this onion.” Since Markley’s skill is the most external layer, the next is his defense, as quoted earlier. Although he has taken a few steps to improve that part of his game, the bottom line is that the benefits still do not outweigh the negatives.

While 49.5% CF is decent for a rookie, it still shows a negative impact in the end. With not much to show, just six points in total, for his ominous offensive skills, it is easy to think that in his development, he has not improved at all if his areas of concern (defense) still constitute a concern.

Specifically, Markley still displays many of these bad habits that have earned him statements like the other half of Constantino; Occasional unsuccessful over-commitments that took him out of place in the corners of the D-zone, the games of despair in defense of the rush, the inability to keep the crease clean.

Or maybe Markley is the rule, not the exception, and has a longer route to evolving to NHL standards as many defenders do. Time will tell if it is really a boom or a boom.


Say what you will about its shortcomings, but there is no shortage of highlights when it comes to choosing. I wanted to highlight an area that I think is the most important aspect of his game: his skating.

This view shows you everything you need to know about why Markley is special, and what can make him great – raise the opposition on mobility. It’s the catalyst for his elusiveness, for misleading his blue line, and even though people think the offensive games he makes are spectacular, really, he just uses his legs to give him the time and space to make his next game easy.

Top 25 San Jose Sharks Under 25: No. 5 Ryan Merkley needs to prove it Source link Top 25 San Jose Sharks Under 25: No. 5 Ryan Merkley needs to prove it

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