The Detroit Red Wings brought defenseman Jon Merrill home on a one-year deal; he could offer some sneaky upside in the 2020-21 season.
For the Detroit Red Wings this offseason, they have addressed one of their worst areas, which was their terrifyingly bad defense. The organization was atrocious during the 2019-29 season, struggling greatly in the defensive zone.
Defenseman Jon Merill will be a remedy for this, especially with his defense being one of his strong suits. A product of the New Jersey Devils’ style, he has been sound and exceptional defensively over the course of his career, which will help the Red Wings.
Keep in mind, the Red Wings scored the least amount of goals in 2019-20 and allowed the most goals on the other side of the ice. Chalking this up to bad goaltending is not fair because Jonathan Bernier was not too shabby given the atrocious blueline.
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Losing Danny DeKeyser to injury last year did not help that, but the atrocious defense can take a breather as they have help coming in from the offseason signings. However, Merrill is going to be the best of incoming defensemen.
Merrill plays a defensive game but occasionally will find a way to put the puck in the back of the net.
But he will provide aid to the team’s defense, its special teams, and be a good veteran to work with the younger crowd.
In 2019-20, Merrill played in 49 total games for the Vegas Golden Knights, where he had just two goals and five assists for seven total points.
That is not a ton of offensive output, but he has still been able to find ways to make things happen. He was a plus-nine in 2019-20 and was a total of a plus-32 with the Vegas Golden Knights.
The Red Wings can also deploy Merrill on the penalty kill with hopes that he can aid the organization’s special teams. This is just another area where the Red Wings were terrifyingly bad during the 2019-20 season, so Merrill just helps this once again.
If Merrill manages to make his way onto the scoresheet with assists and the occasional goal, he would be adding more than enough to be a worthwhile signing. His one-year, $925,000 contract is no big deal at all; he should exceed that in terms of his value over the course of the 2020-21 season.
The Detroit Red Wings were smart to be cost-effective this offseason, and adding Jon Merrill was one of their best moves they could have made. He provides some sneaky upside and could be sneaky good during the upcoming season.