New Jersey Devils defenseman Jon Merrill underwent surgery on his right shoulder Monday, the team announced Wednesday.
General manager Ray Shero said that the surgery will require a long recovery. He’s slated to be laid up for four months. That should put his return, barring any setbacks, right at the end of training camp as the team gets ready to start the 2016-17 season.
That means there’s a fair chance they could start the year without Merrill, who may not be able to train fully during the offseason, or participate in all of training camp.
That could make a complicated summer for Merrill, as he also needs to put pen to paper on a new contract. The 24-year-old’s entry-level contract expires on June 30, and he’ll be a RFA. He’ll almost certainly get a renewal, but might this impact negotiations and put him in a place where he’s on more of a “prove it” contract?
Merrill had one goal and four assists through 47 games last season. Additionally, he posted a -0.6% score-adjusted CF%Rel, the best mark he’s had in his three NHL seasons.
He did not play after March 19 due to a shoulder injury. The team has not confirmed that the surgery is related to either his shoulder injury or the arm injury that sidelined him earlier in the year. It’s not Lamoriello’s tip-lipped Devils any longer, but details aren’t coming as freely as goaltender changes in the conference finals.
Dustin Nelson is the News Editor for The Hockey Writers. He’s a contributor to Hockey Prospectus, Hockey Wilderness, and writes a column for Rotowire. He’s also written for Gone Puck Wild, Wild Xtra, InDigest, Electric Literature, The Rumpus, Tiny Mix Tapes, Prefix Magazine & other publications. Have a tip? Email him at dlukenelson[at]gmail[dot]com.