Detroit Red Wings add to NHL draft haul, trade Jon Merrill to Montreal Canadiens

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Helene St. James, Detroit Free Press
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General manager Steve Yzerman added another mid-round pick to the Detroit Red Wings rebuild.

He flipped third-pair defenseman Jon Merrill to the Montreal Canadiens for a fifth–round pick via Ottawa and forward Hayden Verbeek, the team’s third trade on the weekend.

Saturday, the Wings traded defenseman Patrik Nemeth to the Colorado Avalanche for a fourth–round pick.

Verbeek, 23, played seven games for Laval Rocket in the AHL this season, collecting one goal and two assists.

Merrill was signed in the offseason to a one-year deal.

Columbus Blue Jackets left wing Stefan Matteau (23) and Detroit Red Wings defenseman Jon Merrill (24) chase the puck during the first period of an NHL hockey game, Saturday, March 27, 2021, in Detroit.
Columbus Blue Jackets left wing Stefan Matteau (23) and Detroit Red Wings defenseman Jon Merrill (24) chase the puck during the first period of an NHL hockey game, Saturday, March 27, 2021, in Detroit.

“I thought whoever ended up trading for Johnny, they were going to get a really good addition,” Wings coach Jeff Blashill said. “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.

“He has the confidence and moxie of a guy you want in big moments. That’s what I was most impressed with.”

The Wings (14-23-6) pose as sellers again, on pace to miss the playoffs for a fifth straight year.

Other pending unrestricted free agents include Luke Glendening, Darren Helm and Jonathan Bernier.

Contact Helene St. James at hstjames@freepress.com. Follow her on Twitter @helenestjames. Read more on the Detroit Red Wings and sign up for our Red Wings newsletter. Her book, The Big 50: The Detroit Red Wings is available from Amazon, Barnes & Noble and Triumph Books. Personalized copies available via her e-mail.

This article originally appeared on Detroit Free Press: Detroit Red Wings trade Jon Merrill to Canadiens, add to draft haul