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Notebook: Sharks Scouting Islanders? Reasons For Räty’s Reassignment

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New York Islanders, Timo Meier
Credit: Hockey Shots/Dean Tait

Are the San Jose Sharks scouting the New York Islanders? Why did general manager Lou Lamoriello send top prospect Aatu Räty back to Bridgeport?

Are Sharks Scouting Islanders?

The New York Islanders need a goal scorer, and San Jose Sharks forward Timo Meier is a hot name around the rumor mill. Although there have not been any reports linking the Islanders to Meier or if the Sharks would be moving on from their elite forward.

But on Tuesday night, Sharks senior advisor and pro scout Tim Burke was on hand for the New York Islanders contest against the Dallas Stars.

The Islanders have a few pieces that draw attention, the most prominent being top prospect Aatu Räty, who served as a healthy scratch. The Islanders, a borderline playoff team at the moment, are in dire need of a scorer and would have to part with top pieces and picks for a deal to get done.

Anthony Beauvillier, 25, has struggled to be the player the Islanders expected him to become. Although his value has diminished over the last few years, he may be a player who needs a change of scenery.

Simon Holmstrom, 21, has also shown to be a strong player that could have value on the market, especially for a team likely on its way to a rebuild.

Timo Meier is not your prototypical sniper, which the New York Islanders need. However, he is a shot producer, which does benefit the Islanders immensely.

Meier is second in the NHL in shots on goal with 194 shots, nine shots behind the league-leading David Pastrnak (203) and 76 shots ahead of Islanders leader Brock Nelson, who has 118.

Despite a knack for shooting the puck, Meier has quick hands and a strong hockey IQ, as he has learned through his seven NHL seasons when to attack the crease and when to let the puck go. He may not be the best finisher, but the abundance of shots allows him to rack up goals.

What Meier can do, given his 6-foot, 201-pound frame is protect the puck but also carry the puck as he is a player that can go end to end.

Last season, Meier scored 35 goals, showcasing his shot, speed, possession skills, and finishing ability.

Despite Meier being a puck carrier, he has the tools to be a force alongside Barzal.

Whatever line Meier has been on during his time with the Sharks has been their top line. He’s played with centers such as Logan Couture and Tomas Hertl, two different kinds of players, so he should have no issue syncing up with Barzal.

The biggest reason Meier would work with Barzal is that he has the speed and size to get ahead of most defenders. Speed is something the Islanders need alongside Barzal.

Reasons For Räty’s Reassignment

During Wednesday’s practice, the New York Islanders announced that Aatu Räty and Robin Salo had been loaned to Bridgeport. The Bridgeport Islanders have a game Wednesday-like, as it’s an opportunity for the two players to get game minutes in.

“Robin, he needs some action. Räty has played quite a bit, but for him to go down there and get some game action, it’s going to be good for both of them,” New York Islanders head coach Lane Lambert said.

After seven games in the starting lineup, with two goals and two assists, the 21-year-old Räty served as a healthy scratch for the first time in his career Tuesday. He had shown well in his time with the Islanders, with his strong positional game the critical standout.

“I thought there was a lot of foundation,” Lambert said about Räty. “I talked a lot about his play on both sides of the puck, and that’s very encouraging, especially for a young player that has that much defensive awareness and ability to understand the true battle of the game. I feel he has that, so [that’s] very good.”

As for what he wants to see from Räty down in Bridgeport: “Continue to develop his game. You know, he has an opportunity when he’s there to play in all areas of the game, all situations, and so that’s just important for him to continue growing that way.”

With Räty having played seven games in the NHL, once he reaches the 10-game mark, he’d burn a year off his entry-level contract. Although likely not a reason for his demotion, there is no real room for him in a top-six role currently and that’s the kind of game he plays.

Salo started the season as the sixth defenseman but, after four games, found himself a healthy scratch for Sebastian Aho. He made his way back into the lineup once Adam Pelech went down with an upper-body injury on Dec. 6. He was replaced with 25-year-old rookie Parker Wotherspoon and has served as a healthy scratch for the last eight games.

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