Merrill, a 2010 second-round pick (No. 38), just completed his junior season at the University of Michigan. According to The (Bergen) Record, Merrill also signed an amateur tryout contract with the Devils' American Hockey League affiliate in Albany. He will remain with Albany the rest of the 2012-13 season.
The 21-year-old, New Jersey's top defensive prospect, had two goals, 11 points and 14 penalty minutes in 21 games for the Wolverines this season. He missed the first half of the season with a fractured vertebra he sustained in an exhibition game Oct. 9. He returned to the lineup Jan. 4.
The 6-foot-4, 205-pound player was a CCHA Rookie of the Year finalist in 2010-11, finishing tops among Michigan defensemen with 25 points and 18 assists. In 82 collegiate games, Merrill had 11 goals and 47 points.