Jon Merrill was drafted by the New Jersey Devils in the second round of the 2010 NHL Draft, with the 38th overall pick. He had played two seasons with the U.S. National Development Team before continuing his hockey career at the University of Michigan. In his first season with the Michigan Wolverines, he recorded 7 goals and 18 assists in 42 games. During the 2011-2012 season, Merrill was suspended for the first 12 games of the season because he had violated team rules and was dealing with issues off the ice. He would play 21 games in the 2012-2013 season with the Wolverines before being signed to an entry-level contract. He played the rest of the season with the Albany Devils where he would record a goal and 7 assists in 12 games. Merrill would start the 2013-2014 hockey season in the AHL. Here is a look at his career so far and the impact he has had on the NHL.
He played his first NHL game in early November. Unfortunately, five minutes into the game, he suffered facial lacerations along with a concussion when he was tripped and crashed into the boards. Despite the injuries, Merrill would go on to play 52 games in his rookie season and record 2 goals and 9 assists. His first NHL career goal came in February when he scored an overtime winner against Ilya Bryzgalov of the Edmonton Oilers. He would become the first Devil to record his first NHL goal in overtime. During the 2014-2015 season, Merrill would improve his point totals by scoring 2 goals and 12 assists. The Devils would struggle that season and miss the playoffs for the third season in a row. Merrill’s point totals dropped over the next two seasons under Head Coach John Hynes. In the 2015-2016 season, Merrill played in 47 games and registered a goal and 4 assists. In his latest season with the Devils, Merrill played in 51 games and tallied a goal and 5 assists. In the 2017 off season, Merrill was left unprotected in the 2017 Expansion Draft and was selected by the Vegas Golden Knights.
In his junior career, Merrill had represented the United States in Junior Championships from 2009-2012. In 2009 and 2010, Merrill played in World U18 Championships with the United States. In 2009 he recorded 2 assists and in 2010, he scored 1 assist, both times in 7 games. Between the two years, he won one gold medal. In 2011, at the World Junior Championships, Merrill tallied a goal and 5 assists in 7 games and won a bronze medal. In 2012, he recorded 4 assists in 6 games. The United States didn’t qualify for a medal.
What’s next for Jon Merrill?
In his time with New Jersey, Merrill was mainly played as a third line defenseman. Looking at the defensemen on the Vegas roster, it appears he will once again be a third line defenseman or maybe even a healthy scratch, used when someone gets injured. He has one year left on his contract at the price of $1.275 million so it seems the Golden Knights might want to keep him in the NHL as an inexpensive option in the future. He won’t get to play a full 82 game season this upcoming season so fans should expect him in and out of the lineup. At the end of the day, he’s a Golden Knight for the next season.