Ryan Merkley, a first-round pick (No. 21) in the 2018 NHL Draft by the San Jose Sharks, signed an entry-level contract on Wednesday.
Financial terms were not released.
Merkley, 17, was the Ontario Hockey League rookie of the year last season and finished third among OHL defensemen with 67 points (13 goals, 54 assists) in 63 games for Guelph.
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"Ryan was one of the most talented players at his position in this year's draft and we were very excited to add him to our organization," Sharks general manager Doug Wilson said. "We were impressed with the way he handled himself as the youngest player at our summer development camp and feel that he has a whole new level he has yet to tap into. Ryan has the potential to be a difference-maker at the NHL level and we are looking forward to watching his development this season."
Merkley represented Canada at the U-18 World Junior Championship in 2018 and led it in points (three) and assists (three) among defensemen in five games. He won a gold medal with Canada at the 2017 Ivan Hlinka Memorial Cup and had six assists in five games.