Bennett, Di Giuseppe Plan To Return Comment Count

Brian March 26th, 2012 at 4:59 PM

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Bennett, Di Giuseppe

Thanks to Yost Built retweeting various Daily guys covering Michigan hockey, we can now breathe a little easier about this impending Michigan hockey summer. Mac Bennett ("for sure") and Phil Di Giuseppe have announced they will return next year.

I'm still a little leery about PDG since he hasn't been drafted yet. Sometimes NHL teams (cough cough the Kings) like to sign their kids right away. If he gets drafted by the wrong organization there's a chance that changes his calculus. A remote one, but we've been burned too many times not to consider the possibility.

Meanwhile, Jon Merrill has not decided:

Jon Merrill said he'll decide soon whether or not he will return for his junior year at Michigan. Merrill, a New Jersey Devils prospect, said there's a lot of people he needs to talk with before deciding, namely Berenson.

My initial instinct that his decision to stick through the suspension and uneven play towards the end of last year makes staying the slight favorite. It seems best for everyone for Merrill to have a final, stable season with great success before heading to the AHL or NHL. FWIW, a couple of the Daily guys have the opposite hunch.

Michigan has a couple other guys who could sign with NHL teams (Trouba, Guptill, and Brown); at least they've avoided the worst-case scenario. We've gotten past the immediate window where players leave to catch the tail end of the AHL season (see: Krug, Torey). I'd put the over/under on early entries at one. That's tolerable.

BONUS: Also AJ Treais is changing his number to 23 next year, seemingly because he likes Michael Jordan.

Comments

stephenrjking

March 26th, 2012 at 5:21 PM ^

Caught my first game in person this season in Green Bay, and I couldn't get over the feeling that I was watching Jeff Jillson wearing Jon Merrill's jersey.

I want him to stay, but the way he has played the last month suggests to me that he is not necessarily completely plugged into the college experience. If he doesn't buy in to another year of school he'll have a hard time cracking his books, and then signing will be more of a "need" than a "choice." I hope not, because our team looks pretty good if he's back.

Getting Bennett and PDG back, if they indeed remain, is good news. 

InterM

March 26th, 2012 at 5:33 PM ^

I agree with you -- the dropoff in Merrill's play this year indicates that he might be counting the days until he goes pro.  Yes, another year would provide an opportunity to reestablish his dominance, but if anyone needs a reminder, just watch last year's NCAA tourney -- a completely different guy out there.

Sac Fly

March 26th, 2012 at 5:24 PM ^

Now time to relax and laugh at the Spartans, who return four players to next years blueline.

Two guys who are kind of ok, two guys who never played. Anyone else who skates the back end for MSU next year will either be a low ranked freshman or a converted forward.

JimLahey

March 26th, 2012 at 5:56 PM ^

I think there is little to no chance Trouba signs an NHL contract before he plays his first season at Michigan. There would be no point to that for either party involved.

Also, my gut feeling is that Merrill will not be back next year. I also believe he'll end up with an NHL team besides the Devils. But that's just speculation, what the hell do I know.

Sac Fly

March 26th, 2012 at 10:55 PM ^

Lou Lamoriello does not push college prospects. With his college hockey background he understands that transition from the NCAA to the NHL better than most. If there is any indication Merrill is not ready to make the jump he will tell him, he is the last GM to pull prospects early.

JustGoBlue

March 27th, 2012 at 1:34 AM ^

in the Daily http://www.michigandaily.com/sports/wohlberg-leaves-michigan-ahl-merril…

Money line, I think: Sophomore defenseman Jon Merrill is the only Wolverine who hasn't appeared to make a decision regarding his status for next season

Which means as of now, everybody except potentially Merrill is back.  Moffie is quoted in the article, strongly implying he's staying, we've already heard from PDG and Bennett and there's been a ton of sources about Brown's bid for the captaincy, which would not be being kicked around if there was any thought he would leave, much less if he had already decided to leave.  Obviously, something could change and there's always Trouba.  I expect him to show up for at least a year, he talked a lot about how he waited to commit, because he wanted it to actually be a committment, but draft status can change a lot, especially in terms of him, PDG and Nieves who are all expected to be taken relatively highly in the NHL draft.  But it's good news that nobody's for sure out yet and only Merrill is currently strongly considering it.