The New Jersey Devils wrapped up their development camp on Friday, completing a week of conditioning, drills and scrimmages featuring the organization’s top prospects. The camp gave head coach Peter DeBoer an opportunity to get a first hand look at several future NHL players, including highly-touted goaltender Scott Wedgewood and defenseman Jon Merrill.
“It looks like a good camp. Everyone came in good shape, looks like a lot of depth, especially on defense and in net as far as young NHL prospects, so it looks good so far,” DeBoer said.
The camp featured instruction from Devils coaches, including Hall-of-Famer Scott Stevens, recently named to replace the departed Larry Robinson as an assistant behind the bench. Having Stevens on the ice working with the defensemen in camp was invaluable to the young players, especially the highly-regarded Merrill.
“Any time I can come out to New Jersey and be around some greats like Scott Stevens and some of the other coaches and just be around the organization it’s pretty special. I’m excited to be out here,” Merrill said.
There is speculation that Merrill, New Jersey’s 2nd round draft choice (38th overall) in 2010, is considering leaving the University of Michigan and turning pro.
“There’s no wrong or right decision, it’s a win/win,” Merrill said, regarding his dilemma whether to turn pro or return to college. “I’m confident that everything will work out just fine.”
The prospects on display during the camp provided a possible glimpse of the future for the New Jersey Devils, the team with the oldest average age in the NHL last season. If any of the promising youngsters can manage to break in to the NHL soon, it would provide a welcome shot of youth to the team, particularly on defense.