Maybe you do realize that the Devils traded away Nick Merkley, but do you really? This feels similar to when the Devils traded John Quenneville for John Hayden just minutes before the P.K. Subban deal broke. Merkley got traded to the San Jose Sharks for gigantic defenseman Christian Jaros. It made sense for both teams as they try to get value for a piece that was falling out of the shuffle.
Merkley was a really fun player to root for, but it was hard to see where he fit on this team long term. He had some good games, but with players like Alexander Holtz, Nolan Foote, Tyce Thompson, and Dawson Mercer coming in the pipeline soon, it seemed like Merkley would get squeezed out before he had a chance to prove himself.
He was one of the pieces that came to the Devils in the Taylor Hall trade. The former 1st-round pick wasn’t terrible, but 10 points in 27 games in the NHL isn’t exactly the pursuit of greatness. He’s already 24 years old, so his development is close to over, and the Devils have other players who can mimic his stats.
Merkley was the type of player that is hard to root against, but the Devils did the right thing and gave him an opportunity elsewhere. The San Jose Sharks will give him a chance to make the NHL roster, and if they make some of the trades that are being rumored, he probably has a good chance to make it happen.