Jon Merrill has opted to forego his final season at the University of Michigan to sign with the New Jersey Devils, the team that selected him No. 38 overall in the 2010 NHL Draft. This per TSN’s Bob McKenzie on Wednesday morning.
Merrill will report to the Devils’ AHL affiliate in Albany for the remainder of the season, then presumably will have a shot to crack the NHL roster starting with training camp prior to the 2013-14 year.
But Merrill likely will not be the only Michigan defensemen heading out of Ann Arbor.
Jon Merrill has left the University of Michigan and will go to Albany (AHL). Hearing Jacob Trouba will also announce he’s leaving Michigan.
— Andrew Weiss (@WeissFC) March 27, 2013
Trouba’s rights are owned by the Winnipeg Jets, who had several scouts in attendance at Joe Louis Arena over the weekend, as Michigan competed in the CCHA tournament semifinals and finals. The Wolverines’ loss in the championship game to Notre Dame eliminated them from NCAA Tournament contention, breaking a 23-year run.
Trouba almost certainly would follow a similar path to Merrill — signing, then joining Winnipeg’s AHL team.
The losses would be huge blows to Michigan’s chances to bounce back next year, despite the returns of several other defensemen and a solid recruiting class.