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Well fans, the NHL awards and Expansion Draft have come and gone. Now it’s time for the New Jersey Devils to look towards the NHL Entry Draft on Friday. They’ll be participating in the rest of the offseason without defenseman Jon Merrill, who was taken by the Vegas Golden Knights in the 2017 NHL Expansion Draft. After four full seasons of having him on the blue line, he’ll be playing out west for at least next season (barring any other crazy trade, of course). Regardless of stats, I say thank you Jon for four loyal seasons of work, hard playing, and wish nothing but the best for you moving forward.
Have a look at his first NHL goal that won New Jersey a game against the Edmonton Oilers.
But now let’s take a look at what the Devils will be losing on the blue line both offensively and defensively. In four seasons, Merrill appeared in 216 games out of a possible 328. The absences included both injury and healthy scratches. He picked up a total of six goals and 36 points. It’s known that Merrill isn’t an offensive defenseman and it shows rather clearly. Now to a stat that nobody wants to see- his +/- rating… Minus 41 fans, which means more often than not, Merrill was on the ice when the opponent scored more often than when the Devils scored. He also spent a good amount of time in the penalty box, racking up 88 penalty minutes over those four seasons, almost all of which were minor violations.
Just to take a look at one analytical statistic about Merrill’s defensive play- his corsi rating. The corsi rating is an advanced statistic used to measure shot attempt differential while at even strength play. This includes shots on goal, missed shots on goal, and blocked shot attempts towards the opposition’s net, minus the same shot attempts directed at your own team’s net. An average corsi rating is 50 percent, anything above is considered very good while below is bad. Merrill posted a career 48.24 percent rating. This is considered below average and shows that he struggled in preventing shot attempts.
Overall, this isn’t the worst situation for the Devils in terms of who they lost. Statistics show he simply wasn’t panning out with the team, and had to go. Having said that, he always came to the rink with passion and 100 percent effort every day, no matter how that may have been perceived. Good luck with the Golden Knights, Jon Merrill, we wish you the best.
Side Note: Tune into the NHL Entry Draft on Friday June 23, on NBC Sports, to see who the Devils select with the first overall pick.