Jon Merrill Profile
Jon MerrillHt/Wt: 6' 3"/200 lbs
Team: USA U-18 NTDP
Jon Merrill's Player ProfileWhen you are 14 years old and you commit to play hockey at the University of Michigan, people are going to expect big things from you. Such is the case with USNTDP defenseman Jon Merrill. Scouts, GM’s, and coaches have had plenty of opportunities to assess the skills and potential of Merrill over the past few years. Most seem to agree that he is a sure top 20 pick in the upcoming draft. The question is has Merrill met the lofty expectations heaped upon him since he made that verbal commitment to the Wolverines? Some would say yes. Others might say otherwise. Once that question is answered, teams will have to determine Merrill’s upside and ability to improve upon the skills that he does possess.
Defensively, Merrill is good at maintaining gap control and is able to adjust his skating to that of the attacking forward. When he needs to, he has another gear to close the gap when he has support or the puck carrier mishandles the puck. He’ll need to play at that high level more often as he progresses. Merrill has an active stick that is poised to poke check and is very good at forcing the puck carrier wide and not getting beat to the inside. Once he gets a good angle, he easily rubs the puck carrier into the boards with an effective body check. Any discussion on Merrill has to mention his 6’3” 198lb frame. He’ll only get bigger and stronger as he continues to mature physically. Offensively, Merrill makes good, safe decisions. He makes a nice first pass and can do so equally well on his forehand or backhand. Merrill does not possess the booming shot from the point on the power play but he’s effective in putting it toward the net for deflections and rebounds. Another trait teams should like is that when Merrill gets the puck in his zone or the neutral zone, he keeps it moving forward. He’s very decisive and skates through open ice with conviction until he dishes it off, dumps it in or takes it himself. However, Merrill’s best attribute has to be his hockey smarts and ability to seemingly always be in the right spot. He reads the attack and is able to anticipate passes and loose pucks.
Add it all up, and you have a good defenseman who looks to have the ability to improve. How much he can improve will determine whether or not Merrill will live up to the hype that has followed him through his career thus far.
Pros: Hockey IQ, defensive techniques, size and strength
Cons: May have already reached his potential
Skillset comparison: Marc Staal
Submitted by: Rich Michaelowski of TheScoutingReport.org
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Jon Merrill Video Clips
Jon Merrill overtime goal
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