The Devils were not scared off by Merrill's discipline problem.
"His interview sort of erased that," Lamoriello said. "He told us exactly what happened. You sometimes take that chance. I met the parents. We would not have taken him if we didn't feel comfortable. We'll find out pretty quick."
I don't remember where I read it, but Scott Niedermayer said something similar during his tenure in NJ. I think he turned out okay.
Although, to be fair, for much of Niedermayer's career he did have trouble getting up for all but the most important games. It was just he was so good even at half-strength... but it was also why he wasn't recognized as truly elite until 2003 and then really when he left New Jersey.
Can't wait to see what Merrill can do at prospect camp.
Honestly, I am as well but I'm more looking forward to seeing Gelinas and Urbom after another year of development. I know Burlon is still a year or so away, same as Gelinas, but those two guys are the guys we're all hoping to be the future core of our defense.
Right there we NEED a top pairing defenseman and a couple other top-4 defenseman pretty badly. With all the other guys in the system we should be able to fill out the rest - Corrente, Fraser, Eckford, Taormina, Fayne, Gedig, McPherson, that guy we signed out of Kitchener a while back (edit: that was Kelly, if I recall now), etc - and you can always fill out a bottom pairing.
The way I see it, you need to build a hockey defense around the following philosophy. You need three guys who can skate, shoot, pass, and play defense. They don't need to be the best at any of those things, but the important thing is they need to be able to contribute on both sides of the puck. They make up the core of the defense. Preferably, one of them should be very, very good. And one needs to shoot righty if possible...
Then you need a shutdown guy, the kind of guy who will anchor your PK and lay people out. The first three guys need some physicality, but it doesn't need to be the heart of their games and they can have it in varying degrees, but you need one guy to be the punisher and PK monster.
Then you need a powerplay specialist. One of the first three might fill this role, but this is the guy who can be vulnerable defensively and paired with a guy to cover his mistakes.
Finally, you need to fill it out with a bottom pairing guy. Preferably a mini-version of the shutdown guy, but this guy doesn't need to be awesome defensively, merely competent and (most importantly) mean.
That's how I'd build a defense if I could have my druthers.
Well put. When these guys are ready, Zach will be captain, maybe Zajac and Clarkson an A each(or a d-man could have one) and the kids at forward are rolling. Just need a goalie to be competent enough to back stop through the POs.
If 1 or 2 of Urbom, Merill, Gelinas or Burlon (Corrente a long shot) turn out to be all stars, everything else will be cream cheese.
Sure, there's some overlap, and the last of the mobile three is down the depth chart compared to their two specialists, but the basic pattern is there.
Anyway, of the group of four, Burlon is the longest-shot to be a star. I think he'll be a solid defenseman in the NHL but it'll take a lot of development time and I see middle-pairing tweener in his future. The other three, though, all have huge boom potential. Gelinas may have the highest potential top-end, but Merrill's is significant as well. Urbom is probably the safest of the three, but he too has big boom potential. I'd hope we can successfully develop two of those three.
It's a great model and the Nash one is not too shabby either.
Which makes the Carlson non pick all the more frustrating. One definite young guy this year would be great and ease the pain of the possible Martin exit. Corrente is not a lock.
I think at the least Corrente can be the bottom guy as soon as this season.
And Nashville sort of fits the pattern themselves, although in their case it's really more of a matter of throwing big guys who can skate at the wall and getting all of them to stick because of good drafting. They're more like just having 6 mobile guys, which is not a bad plan when you've got two the quality of Weber and Suter.
Since we're talking defenseman, I desperately want Lou to call up Chicago and ask after Hjalmarsson. He's going to be tough to retain given their cap situation unless he deliberately takes less than he's worth to help the team out for a year. He's basically my ideal #3/4 shutdown guy.
Really? I have hopes, but I've always been slightly iffy on Burlon. But I was iffy on Martin too, so we'll see.
Yeah, I mean, after an awesome freshman year his numbers kind of dipped. If he's to remain a top-end prospect for us, I think he'll have to have a breakout year. There are other guys flying up the depth chart.