When you have been a fan of a sports team for over 25 years you are bound to see ups and downs. When I became a Devils fans there was one season of hope followed by a few miserable seasons. In fact from 88-93 were all pretty rough. There was hope, but mostly rough. Then from 94-2004 it was pretty amazing. Three Cups and four appearances in the finals. The last 10 years have had their ups and downs but currently we are trying to re-tool on the fly and some ways I think we have made great progress and others we haven't. I feel we have one or two too many 35+ players on the team but our youth are amazing and players you would want to build a franchise around. For example, the troubled Jon Merrill.
Jon was considered a first round draft pick and had the talent to back that up. However, he also had some rough edges and personal baggage of which I don't know what they were. But Lou felt he was totally worth the gamble when his name was still on the board in the second round so the Devils grabbed him with their first pick in 2010 (38th overall). We didn't have our first round pick that year due to being part of the Kovalchuk trade but it is worth noting that the pick the Devils had turned out to be Kevin Hayes.
So far, what we have seen in New Jersey has been nothing short of excellent. He has contributed a bit offensively (11 points in 52) games but what he has done without the puck has been superb. He definitely plays like a player with a couple of years of experience and I know he will become more rounded and I expect big things from him. For Devils fans, he could be the next Bruce Driver or Paul Martin (when he was good with the Devils).
13-14 Rookie Anthology Jon Merrill Auto Rookie /249