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Stanley Cup Final

Report: Devils prospect Merrill returning to Michigan

Monday, 07.30.2012 / 9:37 PM / News

NHL.com

New Jersey Devils prospect Jon Merrill will return to the University of Michigan for his junior season, the Detroit News reported Monday.

The 20-year-old defenseman had been undecided whether to join the Devils or remain with the Wolverines.

"Johnny talked with me this morning and indicated he'll be coming back," Michigan coach Red Berenson told the newspaper Monday. "He definitely had some dialogue with New Jersey. Jon realized he only played half of the season and he wants to be ready when he makes the move. He wants to be competing for an NHL job when he does. He doesn't want to be playing in the minors. I think it's the right thing for him."

Merrill missed part of last season after he was suspended by the Wolverines. He participated in the Devils' development camp in July.

"I think everyone involved in the process is on the same page and it's not going to be any surprises for anyone [when a decision is made]," Merrill said at the camp.

He was chosen in the second round (No. 38) of the 2010 NHL Draft. The Devils have eight defenseman with NHL experience on their roster.

"I'm happy with the way my game has developed," Merrill said. "Everything they do at Michigan, I stand by, and have no complaints. If I go back to school, I can develop in a great university ... "

Playing for my favorite team growing up, I've probably scored that goal a million times in my driveway. It feels good to actually do it in real life.

— Dale Weise, who grew up a Canadiens fan, on scoring the overtime winner in Montreal's 5-4 victory against Tampa Bay in Game 1