Mario Ferraro (Defenseman)
University of Massachusetts-Amherst (NCAA)
Born: 9/17/1998 | Height: 5’ 11” | Weight: 185 lbs
Acquired: Drafted in the 2nd Round, 49th Overall, in 2017
– quick hands and plays an up-tempo game offensively
– good vision and executes well on the break out
– quick and active stick defensively
– pro-level offensive instincts and potential
– smooth, quick skater with good edges
– clogs lanes and quickly closes in on attacking players
– doesn’t do a good job establishing positioning down low and in front of the net
– too aggressive in the corners
– lack of strength hurts him along the boards and in front of the net
– slow, indecisive defensive decision making at times
– tends to panic in the defensive zone
Mario Ferraro is a smooth skating offensive defenseman playing for UMass Amherst. Ferraro plays on the top pairing at even strength where he is paired with Cale Makar. Ferraro also logs heavy minutes on both the power play and the penalty kill.
Ferraro is a good skater that relies on using his acceleration in transition to catch defensemen off guard. His first few steps aren’t great but his edgework is excellent and his overall speed is good. His skating transitions are fine and he is elusive. Ferraro could stand to be more explosive and be smarter in how he uses his skating abilities.
Offensively, Ferraro is a playmaker that relies on end-to-end rushes and quick puck movement to generate offense. Ferraro possesses quick hands and a great transition game. His superb vision, puck skills, and aggressiveness allows him to generate offense all over the opponent’s zone. Ferraro isn’t afraid to carry the puck in and has a knack for creating time and space with quick passes down low. He does an excellent job at maintaining the blue line and uses his vision to create movement on the powerplay. I really like how involved he gets and how he seeks out open ice even in the neutral zone. His shot and slap shot are average (he’s a fan of the half-slapper) and his shot selection could use work. Other than shooting for tips, Ferraro struggles to consistently get the puck on net. While Ferraro has NHL level offensive potential, right now he relies a bit too heavily on plays and rushes that just won’t work at the NHL or AHL level. All-in-all, Ferraro is offensively adept and has the tools and potential to be a point contributor at the NHL level.
Defensively, Ferraro has potential but also has major holes in his game. Ferraro has good stick work and has decent gap control against quicker forwards but is inconsistent in his defensive reads and awareness. Ferraro’s main problem defensively is that his aggressiveness down low and near the crease gets him in trouble. He can be too aggressive in the corners and near the circles at times and can be burned by skilled stickhandlers. At times, he’ll chase the play and will give up open ice on his side of the slot. Ferraro doesn’t do a good enough job establishing dominant positioning over the opposition near the net. Refining his defensive decision making process, adding muscle, and playing a calmer game away from the puck when in his own zone should be a priority.
Mario Ferraro’s offensive potential is tantalizing but he needs to add some mass and focus more on tightening up his defensive game. Ferraro is one of the best Sharks defensive prospects and has NHL potential. If he cleans up his defensive play and adds muscle I can see him slot in as a top six or top four defenseman. I question his ability to quarterback a top power play unit at the next level but with the right development I could see it happening. Ferraro has three more years of collegiate eligibility and plenty of time to improve on any deficiencies he has.