ST. PAUL, Minn. — The New Jersey Devils were without defenseman Anton Volchenkov against the Minnesota Wild at Xcel Energy Center on Sunday night due to a lower-body injury.
Volchenkov has three assists and is a minus-2 in 13 games this season.
In his place, the Devils inserted Jon Merrill, a rookie making his NHL debut. A second-round pick of the Devils (No. 38) in the 2010 NHL Draft, Merrill is considered one of the organization's top prospects.
But less than five minutes into his NHL debut, Merrill raced Wild forward Torrey Mitchell into the corner to gather a loose puck when he appeared to lose an edge, smashing hard into the boards. Merrill appeared cut above the eye and needed assistance from two teammates when leaving the ice. The Devils announced at the start of the third period that Merrill suffered lacerations and he did not return to the game.
Mitchell was called for a tripping penalty on the play.
Merrill had two goals and five assists with the Albany Devils of the American Hockey League this season. He played games with Albany on Friday and Saturday night before traveling to the Twin Cities early Sunday morning.
Minnesota won the game, 4-0.