Jon Merrill Returning to Michigan


Michigan star Jon Merrill is returning to school, according to the Detroit News. The 2010 2nd round pick of the New Jersey Devils was suspended for much of last season by the team for an undisclosed violation of team rules.
Merrill had 11 points (2 goals) in 19 games last year as a Wolverine and helped them earn a #1 seed in the NCAA tournament. 
Merrill said a big reason for coming back is that when he signs a pro contract he wants to be sure he is NHL ready and not have to spend much time in the minors, and while it is never a bad thing for a great talent to want to play college hockey, this is probably a bad move by him. He's already proven he can handle college hockey very well, so there probably isn't as much to be gained by him playing another year there. Still, there's no doubt he will be getting great development and there are other benefits to playing college hockey.
It's worth noting that last year's suspension wasn't Merrill's first brush with disciplinary problems:He was suspended from the National Team Development Program in early 2010 as well. It does look like Merrill is getting much more mature though: after his suspension last year he turned down the opportunity to jump to Plymouth, who held his OHL rights, and served out his suspension. 
With the return, Michigan will have a national championship contender and Merrill should be a lock for preseason All-American honors. He's already mastered the college game on the ice but there is no doubt it has helped him grow up quite a bit off it as well.
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