Merkley Traded To Avalanche By Sharks In 2-For-2 Trade

Not too long after it was released that Ryan Merkley asked for a trade out of San Jose, he was dealt to the Colorado Avalanche. He goes to the defending Stanley Cup champions along with Matt Nieto for his second stint with the club. Heading back to the Sharks are Martin Kaut and Jacob MacDonald.

This was a trade to give each of the prospects, Merkley and Kaut, a better chance at sticking around in the NHL. They were drafted five picks apart in the first round of the 2018 draft and haven't found their way in the NHL yet.

The Avalanche have injuries to their back-end with Josh Manson and Bowen Byram sidelined, so Merkley should get his opportunity right away to get what he wants, time in the NHL. The Avalanche have been running 11 forwards and seven defencemen, so Merkley should get his start on the third pairing with the potential to move up to the second.

Seeing how MacDonald got into 33 games this season for the Avalanche, Merkley shouldn't have much trouble sticking around. The Avalanche are usually dealing with injuries of some sort on their defence. Nieto on the other hand becomes a solid depth option who has scored eight goals and 15 points this season. He will slot into the bottom-six. He was productive for a depth forward last time he was with Colorado as he recorded 20+ points in three seasons.

The 23-year-old Kaut gets his chance to grow with a rebuilding team and a better opportunity in the lineup eventually. There will be some players moving out, so he will have his shot at entering the lineup and producing at the NHL level. He has been productive in the AHL, but has scored just three goals and six points in 47 NHL games spread across four seasons. MacDonald helps bring defensive depth to the Sharks while allowing the Avalanche to move out a contract.

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