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Wild sign defenseman Jon Merrill to three-year extension

Minnesota’s depth defender is going to be here for a bit longer.

2022 Discover NHL Winter Classic - Practice Sessions & Family Skate Photo by Brian Babineau/NHLI via Getty Images

The Minnesota Wild are busy making moves on a Tuesday in a week where they only play one hockey game. After putting forward Rem Pitlick on the waiver wire, somewhere he will most likely get claimed, the team announced that they have signed defenseman Jon Merrill to a three-year, $3.6-million ($1.2-million AAV) contract extension that will keep him in Minnesota through the 2024-25 season.

The 29-year-old defenseman has been a welcome addition to a Wild blue line that was under heavy reconstruction this summer. Since signing his one-year, $850,000 contract, he has kept his defense-first game fairly stable but has also been able to chip in more offense than expected, scoring 11 points through the 33 games he’s played.

By extending Merrill, this signals the Wild front office being extremely satisficed with their current blue line. Both Jared Spurgeon and Jonas Brodin are locked up for a very long time, Dmytri Kulikov is signed through next season, and Alex Goligoski, despite his one-year deal, has a quasi handshake agreement that he will be extended on a multi-year deal in the near future.

The one outlier, and a name that was in plenty of trade rumors last summer, is Matt Dumba. The 27-year-old blueliner is set to be an unrestricted free agent after next season, and will most likely need a sizeable extension to stay in Minnesota. Plus, with this blue line cemented, top defenseman prospect Calen Addison remains on the sidelines, and if nothing changes, his development might stagnate.

This one signing can set off a potential chain of events, and might cause some harder conversations in the future. But we’ll celebrate Merrill, because having him in the lineup kicks ass.