The San Jose Sharks have inked a top college prospect, signing Mario Ferraro to a three-year entry-level contract. Ferraro recently finished his sophomore season at UMass. Sharks GM Doug Wilson released this statement about his newest recruit:
Mario had another stellar season at UMass and has consistently proven his capacity to compete and lead at an elite level. His offensive skills, ability to make plays from the blueline and the energy he brings to the rink are impressive and we look forward to seeing him continue his growth at the professional level.
Ferraro, 20, was selected 49th overall in 2017 after an outstanding rookie season in the USHL and has continued that solid progression at the NCAA level. The left-handed defenseman combined with Cale Makar to make one of the most dynamic pairings—freshmen or not—in the country last year before head coach Greg Carvel split them up this season to give his team a deeper attack.
While he may not be Makar in terms of his upside, Ferraro is no slouch at either end of the rink. In fact, the Colorado Avalanche star prospect’s presence may have actually stifled Ferraro’s production at times, given the fact that UMass would rely heavily on the latter in the defensive end while letting the former run wild with the puck on offense. Ferraro can move the puck effectively and may bring more offense at the next level, but the Sharks will be pleased with the defensive zone polish he’s received at college. Even though he doesn’t bring intimidating size, Ferraro can play physical when he needs to an shuts down plays routinely at his blue line.
That kind of defensive responsibility may be the perfect fit for the Sharks, who already have Brent Burns and Erik Karlsson (if re-signed) to move the puck and attack the opposing team. It will be interesting to see if Ferraro can compete for a spot on the NHL squad out of training camp, or if they feel he’ll need more seasoning in the minor leagues.