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NHL New Jersey Devils

New Jersey Devils: Jon Merrill Expected To Sign Entry-Level Deal, Head To AHL

Devils Jon Merrill Pro Debut

Marilyn Indahi – USA TODAY Sports

The 2013 season has been one of ups-and-downs for the New Jersey Devils, and after struggling while goaltender Martin Brodeur was out with an injury they now appear to be back on track since his return and are trying to hold on to a playoff spot. The Devils will soon get a better look at the talents of Jon Merrill, the defenseman they drafted in the second round of the 2010 draft. After three seasons at the University of Michigan, Merrill is expected to sign a three-year entry level deal with the Devils soon, and would likely then sign an amateur tryout with the Albany Devils.

One of the main strengths the Devils’ system has is its depth on defense. Merrill is at the top of a group that also includes Alexander Urbom, Damon Severson and Reece Scarlett. Merill played for the U.S. National Development Team before being drafted, and had seven goals and 25 points in his freshman season for the Michigan Wolverines.  He was limited by injury this season, but still had two goals and 11 points for a Wolverines team that struggled to contend in the CCHA.

The Devils have Anton Volchenkov, Henrik Tallinder, Bryce Salvador, Andy Greene, Mark Fayne and Adam Larsson under contract for next season, but could lose Peter Harrold and Marek Zidlicky to free agency. Merrill will join Urbom, Brandon Burlon and Eric Gelinas in Albany, and if he makes a good impression the rest of the season and in training camp he could be competing for a roster spot with the Devils next season.

Jonathan Katje is an NHL senior writer for Rant Sports. Follow him on Twitter @JKatje or add him to you network on Google.