Oct 21: New Jersey has officially announced the contract, re-signing Merkley at the terms listed. Merkley is currently playing in Finland where he has four points in seven games but will re-join the team when training camp for the 2020-21 season begins.
Oct 20: The Devils have agreed to terms with one of their remaining restricted free agents as CapFriendly reports (Twitter link) that they’ve re-signed center Nick Merkley to a one-year, two-way contract. While the qualifying offer deadline was Sunday, the deal is for the terms of that offer, a salary of $874,125K in the NHL and $70K in the minors.
The 23-year-old was a first-round pick of Arizona back in 2015 (30th overall) but he has spent the majority of his professional career at the AHL level so far. Merkley was a part of the Taylor Hall trade back in December but the change of scenery didn’t change his fortunes too much.
Following the trade, Merkley got into four games with New Jersey and did well with a goal and an assist in that span. But the majority of his playing time was still in the minors where he picked up eight goals and 11 assists in 28 games with Binghamton, numbers that were close to his 3-13-16 stat line in 26 games with Tucson before the move.
Merkley is now waiver-eligible so he’ll have to pass through the rest of the league unclaimed to return to Binghamton although it’s possible that he’ll be in the mix for a spot near the back of New Jersey’s roster as well.
Meanwhile, the Devils still have some work to do this offseason as they have three remaining restricted free agents in goaltender Mackenzie Blackwood, winger Jesper Bratt, and defenseman Colton White. None of those players were eligible for salary arbitration.