"He definitely had some dialogue with New Jersey. Jon realized he only played half of the season and he wants to be ready when he makes the move. He wants to be competing for an NHL job when he does. He doesn't want to be playing in the minors. I think it's the right thing for him."
Mentioned this in the prospects thread, but if you're in the area for Thanksgiving, Michigan is playing Cornell at MSG on November 24th (Saturday). The Devils host the Senators at 1pm, so it'd be feasible to catch both games.
Makes sense for Merrill to go back to the NCAA. He hasn't quite reached the "nothing left to prove in college" level yet. Given how early he committed to Michigan, it makes perfect sense to play another year since he wouldn't be in line for an NHL spot this year.
Naturally Merrill's college experience is much different than yours or mine, but I think it's perfectly understandable to enjoy another year of college before taking on the real world.
Can't wait to watch a Merrill/JT pairing this season.
I love the decision. I said it last season in the prospects thread but after the suspension I wanted him to return to UM, log heavy minutes on the top pairing and take his game to another level before moving on.
He'll play another year there then make a huge push to go straight to the big club in 13-14.
One more year for him to mature at school, NHL vets play out another year in their contracts or one gets traded and the AHL guys either take another step in their dev and get called up or step back or get shipped out.
Under the current circumstances, it was definitely the right choice. I think he still probably could've turned pro this year and done well, but given the glut of defenseman at both the NHL and minor-pro levels, it's best for him to go back to Michigan and dominate his junior year and turn pro in 2013-14. Just think, by then, the Devils defense could potentially include Merrill, Larsson, Urbom and Gelinas.
"I couldn't care less about the team struggling"....A very drunk Joe Namath
2011-12: The start of a new making the playoffs streak!