It seems rumor season is starting to choose up. The New Jersey Devils have already had their title related to Bo Horvat (through The Fourth Period and Elliotte Friedman on 32 Thoughts), one of many high commerce candidates forward of this season’s commerce deadline. They’ve additionally been tied to Columbus Blue Jackets winger Gustav Nyquist by The Fourth Period; Daily Faceoff’s Frank Seravalli additionally mentioned the Devils as one of five teams as a possible match for Nyquist.
But these aren’t the one names related to New Jersey. In the 32 Thoughts episode talked about above, Friedman linked the Devils to San Jose Sharks winger Timo Meier. The 26-year-old Swiss native has 27 objectives and 47 factors in 47 contests this season. If the 2 sides can comply with a contract extension since Meier is a pending restricted free agent, he often is the good match for what the Devils want for a playoff run now and in future years.
Meier’s Resurgence After Some Down Years
A former top-10 choose (ninth general) within the 2015 NHL Draft, Meier obtained off to a powerful begin as an NHLer. In his second season in 2017-18, he potted 21 objectives and 36 factors in 81 video games as a 21-year-old. Only a yr later, he was scoring 30 objectives and ending with 66 factors.
But for nearly as good as Meier was by then, his recreation regressed a bit within the ensuing years. He completed with solely 22 objectives and 49 factors in 70 video games in 2019-20 and had simply 12 objectives and 31 factors through the COVID-shortened marketing campaign in 2020-21. Players don’t often fall off a cliff at 23-24 years previous, and a pandemic did have an effect on these two seasons. Plus, the Sharks had been on the decline and not the perennial Western Conference energy that they had been pre-pandemic.
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As it seems, Meier was simply fantastic, and he’s again to being the participant he was in his first couple of seasons within the NHL. Though the Sharks had their justifiable share of struggles in 2021-22, Meier nonetheless totaled 35 objectives and 76 factors in 77 video games. That’s carried over into this season, as he’s on tempo for 47 tallies and 82 factors.
When taking a look at a few of his underlying metrics, they again up the counting totals he’s posted previous the midway level of the season. Meier ranks second in anticipated objectives proportion on the Sharks at 57.82 p.c, proper behind Kevin Labanc, who’s had a resurgence himself. He’s been one of many Sharks’ most-efficient five-on-five scorers, averaging 2.29 factors per 60 minutes, a price you’d anticipate of a first-line winger.
Compared to his friends, Meier has been one of the crucial beneficial forwards across the league. His anticipated objectives above substitute (xGAR) of 13.3 ranks fifteenth within the NHL amongst forwards, inserting him barely forward of Sidney Crosby, Patrice Bergeron and Mitch Marner. Overall, he ranks within the 96th percentile in wins above substitute during the last three seasons:
There’s no denying Meier is an influence winger. He’s continued his resurgence from a season in the past and is pacing for a career-high in objectives. If the Devils do pursue him in a commerce, what would he convey to the desk? And the place would he match of their lineup?
Meier’s Shooting a Needed Addition for Devils’ Top-6
Meier is a two-time 30-goal scorer and is pacing for 40-plus this season, however he’s not an elite finisher, per se. He’s a ten.4 p.c shooter for his profession, and per Money Puck, he’s solely about half a p.c above league common as a shooter. The purpose he scores so many objectives is that his shot quantity is fairly insane.
Through 47 video games, Meier has already fired 218 pictures on purpose, placing him on tempo to complete with 380; he totaled 325 a season in the past. Any time a participant places that many pucks on internet, he’s sure to have quite a lot of hit the twine. That’s his recreation: firing away within the offensive zone, and it’s high quality possibilities he’s producing, not from the perimeter. While Dougie Hamilton, Jesper Bratt and Nico Hischier hit the web fairly usually, the one true high-volume shooter that the Devils have is Jack Hughes. So including Meier would assist in that regard.
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Since Meier is a left winger, he shouldn’t have bother sliding in someplace on the left aspect of the Devils’ top-six. Head coach Lindy Ruff has used Erik Haula, Yegor Sharangovich and others alongside Hughes however has but to discover a constant mixture. Meier would change that, as Haula would transfer all the way down to heart the third line and will give the Devils a possible look of this up entrance:
- Ondrej Palát – Hischier – Bratt
- Meier – Hughes – Dawson Mercer
- Sharangovich – Haula – Tomáš Tatar
- Miles Wood/Jesper Boqvist – Michael McLeod – Nathan Bastian
Even although the Devils are 29-12-4 as of this writing, there’s little question their top-six will get a major improve with Meier. It additionally helps strengthen their depth as Haula strikes into an acceptable third-line function with succesful middle-six forwards in Sharangovich and Tatar. Now, what would it not price to accumulate him? Maybe not as a lot as you assume.
Potential Cost of a Meier Trade
In his trade profile of Meier on Daily Faceoff, Seravalli used the Alex DeBrincat commerce from over the summer season as a comparable. For those that want a refresher, the Ottawa Senators acquired DeBrincat from the Chicago Blackhawks for a 2022 first-round choose (seventh general), 2022 second-round choose (thirty ninth general), and 2024 third-round choose.
Because of the caliber of participant Meier is, the Devils should surrender their first-round choose. Since they’re closely trending towards being a playoff crew, that choice will find yourself within the again half of the primary spherical. A second-round choose equal would come with a prospect like Shakir Mukhamadullin or Seamus Casey, and the third asset might be a second-round choose in 2024. Another chance is solely a first-rounder and Alexander Holtz, the seventh general choose from the 2020 draft. But any method you slice it, the Devils have the items to make a deal work utilizing DeBrincat as a template.
Part of the explanation Meier and DeBrincat are comparables, as Seravalli talked about, is due to their qualifying provides. DeBrincat had a $9 million QO final offseason, whereas Meier has a $10 mil QO this coming summer season. That’s an issue, however as Friedman talked about in 32 Thoughts, the Sharks will let groups speak to Meier about an extension in the event that they discover a deal they like for him. That doesn’t essentially imply a sign-and-trade, however the Devils might have him inked to a brand new contract quickly after including him to their roster.
That is without doubt one of the keys for the Devils in buying Meier or any top-six winger. They’re not in a spot to go large for a rental proper now. This is the primary yr of their playoff window opening up, so giving up property for a rental once they aren’t fairly a Stanley Cup contender but would damage them down the street. Adding somebody like Meier must be for the lengthy haul to assist open up their Stanley Cup window within the subsequent couple of years. If the Devils can pull that off, he turns them into severe playoff contenders for years to return and never only for 2022-23.
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Alex Chauvancy is a New Jersey Devils author for The Hockey Writers who has a penchant for superior stats, prospects, signings and trades. He beforehand wrote for Devils Army Blog, a New Jersey Devils fan weblog, from 2015-2017