Merrill traded to Canadiens by Red Wings

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Jon Merrill was traded to the Montreal Canadiens by the Detroit Red Wings on Sunday for Hayden Verbeek and a fifth-round pick in the 2021 NHL Draft.

The 29-year-old defenseman can become an unrestricted free agent at the end of this season. He has five assists in 36 games.

The Canadiens placed defenseman Victor Mete on waivers Sunday. The 22-year-old, who can be a restricted free agent after the season, has three assists in 14 games and was a healthy scratch for a 5-0 loss to the Winnipeg Jets on Saturday. 

Forward Eric Staal was traded to Montreal by the Buffalo Sabres on March 26 for a third- and fifth-round pick in the 2021 draft.

The 2021 NHL Trade Deadline is 3 p.m. on Monday.

Merrill was selected by the New Jersey Devils in the second round (No. 38) of the 2010 NHL Draft. He has scored 66 points (12 goals, 54 assists) in 392 regular-season games for the Red Wings, Vegas Golden Knights and Devils and one point (assist) in 16 Stanley Cup Playoff games.

“I thought whoever ended up trading for ‘Jonny,’ if somebody did, they were going to get a real good addition,” Red Wings coach Jeff Blashill said. “First off, I think he’s a good player. He’s kind of a jack of all trades. He can play the left. He can play the right. He can kill penalties. He can play up and down your lineup a little bit. But probably the most important for me is that he’s got confidence and moxie of a guy that you want in those big-pressure situations in the playoffs. He’s not going to be one bit afraid of the moment. He’s going to seize the moment. That’s what I was most impressed with about ‘Jonny.’ I really enjoyed having him.”

The Red Wings received a 2021 fourth-round pick in a three-team trade with the Columbus Blue Jackets and Tampa Bay Lightning that sent defenseman David Savard to Tampa Bay on Saturday. Detroit traded defenseman Patrik Nemeth to the Colorado Avalanche on Friday for a fourth-round pick in the 2022 NHL Draft.

Verbeek, a 23-year-old undrafted forward prospect, scored three points (one goal, two assists) in seven games for Laval of the American Hockey League this season. His uncle, Pat Verbeek, played 20 seasons in the NHL and won the Stanley Cup with the Dallas Stars in 1999.

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