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Red Wings trade defenseman Jon Merrill to Montreal in exchange for draft pick, prospect

NHL: Detroit Red Wings at Florida Panthers Sam Navarro-USA TODAY Sports

Steve Yzerman is sending defenseman Jon Merrill to the Montreal Canadiens in exchange for a 2021 5th round pick, and forward Hayden Verbeek.

Merrill carries a $925k cap hit and will be an unrestricted free agent at the end of the season. The 29-year-old has registered 5 assists through 36 games this season. Montreal is getting a real nice piece of depth for a bargain.

Hayden Verbeek is the nephew of Red Wings AGM Pat Verbeek. His production has been underwhelming since moving to pro hockey.. So it’s not really clear what we’re getting in a player like him. The 5th round pick in 2021 means the Red Wings now have 11 picks in the upcoming draft, which is welcomed news for all Red Wings fans.

I am also underwhelmed by this return. Merrill is a useful utility defenseman, and one would think that with his affordable cap hit, he should be able to net a better draft pick. At the end of the day, Merrill was signed as a free agent, so it’s prospect and a pick at the cost of no long-term assets. But as Prashanth noted above, he’s been consistently one of our best blue-liners when he’s in the lineup.