In a season when the San Jose Sharks will reach a few milestones, defenseman Mario Ferraro appeared in his 100th NHL game against the Los Angeles Kings on April 9. Coming into his second season, the 22-year-old earned some high praise from head coach Bob Boughner, and fans had high expectations for Ferraro’s performance. So far, he has lived up to the hype. Through his first hundred games, the King City, Ontario-native has 25 points, and through 40 games this season, he has a 47.78 Corsi-for percentage (per Natural Stat Trick) with more responsibility on the back end.
The Sharks selected Ferraro in the second round of the 2017 NHL Entry Draft. He made his way to San Jose following two years at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. In his first season at UMass, he set the program record for the most shots blocked by a freshman (54). As a sophomore, he helped lead the Minutemen to their first NCAA Championship game.
Six months after his final collegiate game, Ferraro made his NHL regular-season debut on Oct. 10, 2019. Ferraro took his rookie lap to kickstart his career with a dramatic set of games against the Vegas Golden Knights in Las Vegas.
His first NHL goal came on Dec. 28, 2019, against the Philadelphia Flyers, which was also his first multi-point game in the league. He was named the Sharks’ Rookie of the Year last June, adding his name to a list that includes many beloved members from the team’s 30-year history.
The former alternate captain’s leadership qualities have also received recognition in San Jose. He is the type of player you want on your team, and every night, he proves himself to be one of the bright faces of the Sharks’ future.
His Future With the Sharks
While the Sharks’ defensive game is a regular discussion topic, often not the most positive, Ferraro’s presence on the blue line is a positive.
The organization would surely like him to score more often. However, he has already shown significant improvement from this debut to now and is capable of playing both sides, despite being a left-handed defenseman. He has also displayed the willingness and ability to adapt and perform in any role he is asked to step into.
Averaging 22:37 of ice time a night, the only two Sharks players who average higher are Erik Karlsson (23:29) and Brent Burns (26:19). The youngest of the three is also playing a more physical game than in his first season, with his average hits per game increasing to 2.925 from 1.97 during his rookie campaign. He has seen a similar increase in his blocked shots, rising from 0.95 to 1.65 this season.
Throughout this unique season, Ferraro, who goes by Youngest of Plugs on YouTube, has found himself on the Sharks’ top defensive pairing, playing alongside Burns. He continues to soak in every experience and opportunity that comes his way. Through the improvement seen through his first hundred games, one can’t help but be excited for what his next hundred, or five, will offer.
Already a Fan Favorite
Between his outgoing personality and infectious smile, Ferraro has quickly become a fan favorite both on and off the ice. While the team in teal has several players that fans would go to bat for, Ferraro has now added his name to that list. San Jose finds itself with a player who seems to genuinely enjoy the game and has the drive to succeed. As the Sharks roster continues to evolve through this reset, eyes will be on the 22-year-old to help set the tone for the younger players as they carry the team into the future.
Lizz Child has grown up in the Bay Area and can be found at nearly every Sharks and Barracuda game. You can also see her writing at dubnetwork.ca where she covers the Portland Winterhawks and the US Division of the Western Hockey League. She has also worked for the Sharks 50/50, having the time of her life interacting with fans and over the season. Following multiple teams and multiple leagues, she is always up to talk hockey whenever possible.