When Ryan Merkley did not attend training camp with the Peterborough Petes this year, the question began to pop up again and again.
Where would Merkley play in 2019-20?
The answer arrived on Thursday night. Ryan Merkley will play for the London Knights.
London General Manager Mark Hunter acquired the former first overall pick in the 2016 OHL Priority Selection from the Peterborough Petes in exchange for a 3rd round pick in the 2022 OHL Priority Selection, and a conditional 2nd or 3rd selection in 2024.
Peterborough gave up forward Pavel Gogolev and five draft picks in the deal.
Merkley is reportedly on his way back from San Jose where he has been at training camp with the Sharks. He appeared in one pre-season game in which he recorded two assists in a 4-3 victory over the Anaheim Ducks.
Since he is only 19 and was drafted while playing in the Ontario Hockey League there were basically two possible landing spots. He could remain with the Sharks or return to the OHL.
The Knights headed into this season after major graduation on their blue line. Evan Bouchard, Adam Boqvist, Joey Keane and Will Lochead have all moved on. Merkley will provide some more veteran skill.
London will also get a chance to provide Merkley with an opportunity to silence detractors who have questioned his maturity and his commitment level.
Merkley owns elite skill. He is an incredible playmaker who has recorded 39 goals and 193 points in 188 regular season games in the Ontario Hockey League.
There is a chance that he could make his London Knights debut on Friday night against the Erie Otters at 7:30 at Budweiser Gardens.
Coverage will begin at 6:30 from Shoeless Joe’s on King Street on 980 CFPL, at http://www.980cfpl.ca and on the Radioplayer Canada app.