Canadiens acquire defenseman Merrill from Red Wings

MONTREAL (AP) — The Montreal Canadiens have bolstered their blue line depth ahead of the NHL trade deadline.

The club acquired veteran defenseman Jon Merrill from the Detroit Red Wings on Sunday for a fifth-round draft pick in 2021 and minor-league forward Hayden Verbeek.

Merrill appeared in 36 games with the Red Wings in 2020-21, picking up five assists while averaging nearly 20 minutes of ice time. The 29-year-old from Oklahoma City has 12 goals and 66 points in 392 regular-season games with the New Jersey Devils, Vegas Golden Knights and Red Wings since making his NHL debut in 2013-14.

The league’s trade deadline is set for Monday at 3 p.m. EDT.

Merrill was selected 38th overall by the Devils in the 2010 draft.

Verbeek had one goal and two assists with Laval Rocket of the American Hockey League this season. The pick heading to Detroit in the trade previously belonged to the Ottawa Senators. His uncle is Pat Verbeek, who scored 522 goals in a 20-year career as a player in the NHL and who is currently Detroit’s assistant general manager.

Detroit general manager Steve Yzerman added another draft pick to his total of 20 selections in 2021 and 2022, hoping the influx of young talent helps him rebuild a once-proud franchise. Yzerman also acquired a fourth-round pick Saturday in a three-team trade with Columbus and Tampa Bay, taking on some salary without giving up a player or a draft pick.

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