According to a report from NHL.com, Michigan junior defenseman Jon Merrill has agreed to a 3-year contract with the New Jersey Devils, giving up his final year of eligibility at Michigan. The Devils selected Merrill in the second round of the 2010 NHL Draft.
Merrill has had an interesting career with Michigan, including first committing to the Wolverines at the age of 14. After an impressive rookie campaign where he was a finalist for CCHA rookie of the year, he missed the first half of his sophomore season due to a suspension for violating team rules. This year was supposed to be his rebound year to show what he could do with a full season, but his neck was fractured on a hit in Michigan's first exhibition game, and he missed the first half of the year because of it. Merrill's talent on the ice has always been unquestioned, but rumors of off-ice character issues have dogged him throughout his career.
At his end-of-year press conference yesterday, Michigan coach Red Berenson said he expected Merrill and fellow defenseman Jacob Trouba to seriously consider pro offers this summer, but did not expect any departures beyond that.