Let’s Speculate and Dream: Can the Devils Make a Timo Meier Trade Work?

Now past the midway level of the season, the Devils sit close to the prime of the league’s standings. The staff has had an uneven couple of months, although, as they struggled to search out the win column for a lot of December and now have been discovering it regardless of some pretty sloppy and disjointed play right here in January. Given that the Devils have already blown by final season’s win whole and surpassed their 2021-22 factors whole with 36 video games but to play on their schedule, it is powerful to complain an excessive amount of about the place the staff is located proper now in the standings.

In spite of these very optimistic circumstances, standings-wise, a Devils staff that was wanting like a juggernaut for the first quarter of the season now seems decidedly extra susceptible. The staff appeared to have first rate depth when issues have been going nicely, however a lot of the roster has struggled to search out the scoresheet and has had their underlying numbers sink considerably over the previous month and a half. The Devils really feel largely like a two-line staff proper now which creates some particular limitations for a staff with larger aspirations than “make the playoffs.”

When this season started, “make the playoffs” was definitely the purpose that everybody had in thoughts as a marker of a profitable season. That accomplishment is wanting more and more more likely to be achieved, as the Devils now sit 13 factors away from the playoff bubble. But simply because one thing was the purpose when the season started doesn’t suggest that the staff should not essentially attain for increased ambitions based mostly on the up to date data now obtainable. A staff that has suffered beneath an prolonged rebuild so long as the Devils have is understandably reluctant to overcommit earlier than the proverbial “window” has opened. There is not any exhausting and quick rule for what constitutes a staff’s window to compete for championships, although.

The Devils entrance workplace (understandably) desires to verify they’re doing issues The Right Way™ after basically 10 years in the NHL wilderness. Sacrificing an excessive amount of in the identify of creating a large splash, whether or not at the commerce deadline or the offseason, when a staff is on the rise can in the end set again a rebuild, the typical knowledge goes. I believe persons are starting to return round to the incontrovertible fact that the Devils are in all probability now of their window, although, with the approach their core items like Nico Hischier, Jack Hughes, and Dougie Hamilton are taking part in. If your finest gamers are at or close to the peak of their powers, there isn’t a time like the current.

The function of all this setup is that this: if the time is now to attempt to make some critical noise for the Devils, there isn’t a want to take a seat in your palms or accept half-measures in your commerce targets. Enter Timo Meier. Meier will likely be an RFA with a burdensome qualifying provide this summer time and is presently taking part in on a awful San Jose Sharks staff with an getting older core, restricted prospect group, and a capped-out roster. For a San Jose staff that’s doubtless lastly contemplating hitting the reset button on their roster after years of mediocrity and a comparatively grim outlook, Meier is definitely their most dear commerce piece. He additionally would possibly simply be the greatest difference-maker theoretically obtainable by commerce this season.

Meier is on tempo for near 50 objectives this season, and on prime of that, he drives play at completely elite ranges from the wing. A have a look at his remoted xG impacts from HockeyViz exhibits simply how a lot of a difference-maker he’s at 5v5 and, to a lesser extent, the energy play. Meier is an aggressive ahead who can push the tempo of video games and he has a nice shot to associate with it. Whether it is subsequent to Jack Hughes or his Swiss compatriot Nico Hischier, it is enjoyable to think about simply how dominant a line with Timo Meier can be in New Jersey. Timo additionally has a repute as a feisty participant, which he showcased with some fairly spectacular throwing of palms simply yesterday. He checks nearly each field obtainable for a staff that might use a enhance on the wing.

Meier remoted xG impacts
From HockeyViz.com

So how do the Devils make a commerce for Meier in realty? Well, it is unlikely to be low-cost as he’s about as large of a chip as the Sharks should navigate out of the mess they discover themselves in, and if he is obtainable, there are more likely to at the least a number of groups vying for his providers. I believe at a minimal, the Devils will doubtless should half with a prime prospect, a younger roster participant, and a prime decide. I believe there are a variety of possible setups for the Devils to make such an association work.

A reputation that’s more likely to be on the tip of everybody’s tongue is Alexander Holtz, which, regardless of his being a latest excessive decide, is barely a chunk of what the Sharks are going to have to be enticed. His ties to latest Sharks prime decide William Eklund give it a type of synergy for the Sharks, however the query marks on Holtz’s growth imply that a first spherical decide might be an computerized throw-in if Holtz is the centerpiece. The query can be how rather more would the Sharks want past Holtz and a first. Given that the decide will in all probability be in the mid-20s with the Devils’ trajectory, the Devils will in all probability should do extra to make the Sharks complete.

A good younger ahead like Yegor Sharangovich might be a pot-sweetener, however his considerably middling season does hamstring his commerce worth to an extent. The Devils should transfer out some wage both approach, so a man like Sharangovich might be a doubtless casualty, since the Sharks in all probability haven’t got a lot curiosity in a man like, say, Tomas Tatar, as a commerce chip. And if the Devils need to execute a wage dump of somebody like Andreas Johnsson to make the cap numbers crunch, that is in all probability solely going to boost the value for the Sharks. If Holz/1st/Sharangovich is not sufficient to get it achieved, I believe the Devils might take into account shifting a prospect from their subsequent tier with good upside, reminiscent of Shakir Mukhamadullin or Arseny Gritsyuk.

The large query dealing with the Devils is would they half with a participant like Simon Nemec if the Sharks say that is what they want? Under these circumstances, I believe you in all probability have to have a contract extension labored out with Meier earlier than the commerce, and the quantity of different items you are together with in the commerce has to go down considerably (probably to zero), however I do not t know that I’m slamming the door of their face in the event that they make that query. The solely prospect that feels actually untouchable to me is Luke Hughes, given the peak of his ceiling and the apparent household ties to your finest participant.

Looking ahead at the coming years, I believe the Devils have the capacity to suit Meier on their cap, assuming he lands someplace in the $8.5M(ish) AAV vary on a longer-term deal. That would definitely open up some questions on the way forward for RFA Jesper Bratt, and doubtless means it’s important to half with at the least one among Ryan Graves/Damon Severson, however for a participant like Meier, you determine a solution to make it work. The Devils will hopefully have some gamers (like the aforementioned Luke Hughes) arriving to maintain prices down with some ELCs as nicely.

There’s loads of smoke round the ‘Meier to the Devils’ hearth, together with in the nationwide media, and even when it is simply speculating, these items have a approach of form of keen themselves into existence and Sharks GM Mike Grier has achieved nothing to throw chilly water on the suggestion. Could it’s a match? What do you assume it can take to really make the Sharks chew on a commerce proposal? Is Holtz too flawed a prospect to be a centerpiece? Is Nemec a participant you’d take into account parting with to make a commerce like this go? Sound off along with your ideas on the chance under and thanks for studying.

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