by David Pavlak on 08/02/12 at 03:44 PM ET
The New Jersey Devils highly touted defensive prospect, Jon Merrill, has announced recently that he is going to return to Michigan to play his junior year of hockey.
“I’ve talked to him all winter and spring,” Red Berenson said to Mike Vorkunov of the Star Ledger. “I think based on this year he knows that he needs another year. Another year in college would be really good for him. He needs a breakout year.”
Hockeysfuture.com says that Merrill is a “solidly built two-way defender with outstanding poise and hockey smarts. He skates well in all directions, shows no fear in rushing the puck up the ice and can quarterback a power play with his great distribution skills and shot. While still a little raw defensively, Merrill is sure to evolve further and learn how to use his sizable frame to his advantage with more experience.”
The website also says that Merrill should have a fruitful career in the NHL.
“Merrill has the multi-purpose skill set to eventually evolve into a top-pairing defenseman that can play in all situations. He has 40-50 point upside. Ryan Suter is a good comparable at the NHL level.”
Merrill missed the first 22 games of his sophomore season as he served a suspension for violating team rules. Tom Gulitti reported the suspension of the first 12 games last year and then it seemed more were tacked on.
This isn’t Merrill’s first rodeo with disciplinary action as reported by Gulitti.
“This is not the first time that Merrill, 19, has been disciplined for off-ice actions. When he was with the U.S. under-18 program in Ann Arbor, Mich. in 2009-10, he was suspended for two weeks because of an off-ice incident in which he was accused of what he described as, “harassment” of some girls at his high school (Ann Arbor Pioneer).”
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