There have been a lot of questions about the Devils' defense as of late, particularly their younger members. The fans are clamoring to know where Adam Larsson is, and why, in spite of what he brings to a struggling offensive effort,?Eric Gelinas has been sent down to Albany. In the middle of this uncertainty, a true point of stability for the Devils' D-Men has been?Jon Merrill.
In his 31 games since being promoted to the main roster on November 3, Jon has been the most consistent and reliable of any of the vaunted Devils call-ups. After a few early blunders and turnovers during his pairing with Gelinas, which lead to the two rookies being split-up, Merrill's defensive game has continued to progress to a legitimate, NHL level.
In spite of his youth, the 22-year-old rookie from the University of Michigan?plays a smart, confident, hard-working game. He blocks shots, makes the right passes, isn't afraid of contact and doesn't shy away from the hard work in the corners. ?He also shows very strong stick skills for someone so young, and is consistently able to disrupt the opponent's play with a timely poke-check or blocked pass that sends the play the other way. This is made all the more impressive when you consider the fact that Merrill had only 26 games of experience at the AHL level to call upon before being thrust onto the big stage.