New Jersey Devils: 3 Players On Chopping Block With Jesper Bratt’s Return

Jesper Bratt #63 of the New Jersey Devils (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
Jesper Bratt #63 of the New Jersey Devils (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images) /
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New Jersey Devils
Nick Merkley – New Jersey Devils (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images) /

Nick Merkley

Nick Merkley finally got himself in the lineup two games ago, and he’s looked decent in his two games on the ice. His first game against the New York Islanders, he was all over the ice. It seemed like he touched the puck a lot. In his second game, he played a lot of 5v5 minutes. Only Jack Hughes, Nikita Gusev, and Kyle Palmieri played more 5v5 minutes against the Flyers among the forwards. He even got an assist on Pavel Zacha’s goal at the end of the game for his first point of the season.

Still, Merkley’s spot is far from guaranteed. The Devils already put him through waivers, so they can send him to the taxi squad without having to put him through waivers again. This gives the Devils a little time without the risk they took at the beginning of the season.

Merkley has played well, so it would be a decision most fans wouldn’t like. His issue is he has seen a lot of high-danger chances against him. In the last game, he was on the ice for four high-danger chances against. It’s not like that was the worst on the team (Ty Smith saw eight high-danger chances against), but it’s not something to go home about.

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Bratt would slot right into Merkley’s spot in the lineup. He would play the same amount of minutes as Merkley has so far. It would be the move that makes the smallest impacts to the lineup. The Devils played well in the second half of the Flyers game despite some mistakes. It seems like some minor changes Ruff made are working. This might lead to Ruff taking Merkley out of the lineup for now as Bratt returns.