The San Jose Sharks’ selloff began in earnest Wednesday night as they traded forward Matt Nieto and Barracuda defenseman Ryan Merkley to the Colorado Avalanche for defenseman Jacob MacDonald and forward Martin Kaut.
MacDonald, 29, has played in a combined 76 NHL games with Florida and Colorado, and has 12 points and 21 penalty minutes. MacDonald has also played in 271 AHL games with Springfield, Albany, Binghamton and Colorado, and has 189 points and 123 penalty minutes.
MacDonald was named to the AHL First All-Star Team in 2018 and the Second All-Star Team in 2020. He was also named to the 2020 AHL All-Star Game as a member of the Colorado Eagles.
The six-foot, 204-pound native of Portland, Oregon, originally signed as a free agent with Florida in 2018, and played collegiately for four seasons at Cornell University.
“Jacob is a versatile veteran player who has been an All-Star at the American Hockey League level and will add depth to our NHL line-up,” said Sharks general manager Mike Grier of MacDonald, a defenseman who can also play forward.
Kaut, 23, has split time with the Avalanche and the Colorado Eagles (AHL) this season. He has three points in 27 NHL games and eight points in 10 AHL games. In 173 AHL games, Kaut has registered 99 points and 103 penalty minutes. In 47 NHL games, he has six points and 10 penalty minutes.
Internationally, Kaut has represented the Czech Republic at the junior and senior levels. He appeared at the 2018 and 2019 World Junior Championships, where he totaled seven points (two goals, five assists) in seven games and four points (three goals, one assist) in five games, respectively.
Kaut, at 6-foot-2 and 190-pounds, was originally selected in the first round by Colorado, 16th overall, in the 2018 NHL Draft.
“Martin is a former first-round pick who bolsters our group of young developing forwards at the American Hockey League level,” said Grier.
Nieto, who played with the Avalanche, had 15 points in 45 games this season. In 364 career games with San Jose, Nieto had 109 points.
Merkley was the Sharks’ first-round draft pick in 2018. But feeling that he had fallen down the Sharks’ organizational depth chart, Merkley requested a trade and had not appeared in a game with the Barracuda, since Dec. 31, although he was also dealing with a minor injury.
Merkley, in 39 games with the Sharks in 2021-22, had one goal and five assists. With the Barracuda, Merkley had 14 points, all assists, in 30 games. In 93 career AHL games, Merkley has two goals, 42 assists and 70 penalty minutes.