The New Jersey Devils have re-signed defenseman Jon Merrill to a two-year deal worth $2.275 million according to the team.
The Oklahoma City native will make $1 million this coming season and then collect $1.275 million in the 2017-18 campaign with an average cap hit of $1,137,500.
Merrill supplied only one goal and four assists in 47 games with the Devils before shoulder surgery ended his season early. The injury will keep him off the ice until training camp opens in September. He also missed time earlier in the season with an arm ailment.
The 205-pound, left-handed rearguard has spent his whole career with the team and totaled 30 points in 165 career games.
What Jon Merrill Means to New Jersey
The signing is a big signal that general manager Ray Shero is looking to bolster the blue-line group on a team that hung around the postseason picture until the latter part of the season. Earlier in the day, New Jersey inked former Pittsburgh Penguins defenseman Ben Lovejoy to a three-year deal.
Merrill doesn’t add a lot of offensive punch, but he doesn’t need to be known for his scoring prowess as he brings a physical presence to the team.
He has been an enigma to some fans as he has the tools to be a steady defender in the league. However, he’s had some struggles in the possession game as his Corsi for is in the 46th percentile.
The contract is a low-risk deal that doesn’t see the Devils commit a ton of money to him and he could be dangled as a trade bait if New Jersey struggles and is looking to unload assets. This contract is the definition of a “bridge deal” as Merrill has a chance to prove his worth and get a long-term deal with the club.
Covered hockey since attending SUNY Oswego in Upstate New York in the early 2000s. Has written about college, major junior and professional hockey for the last five years.
Resides in Watertown, NY.