New York Islanders
Islanders Trade Speculation: Do Sharks Have Missing Piece?
The New York Islanders need a high-caliber forward if they are going to give themselves a chance at doing damage in the postseason if they get there.
That’s been a need for years, but with the injury bug knocking Oliver Wahlstrom out of the lineup indefinitely, the Islanders need to think about pulling the trade trigger soon. They currently find themselves in a grueling standings battle in a tight Metropolitan Division and are, at this moment in time, on the outside looking in.
Right now, Casey Cizikas is playing on Mat Barzal’s wing as head coach Lane Lambert tries to do what he can while he waits for injured players to return.
San Jose Sharks forward Timo Meier is a player that may be available, which could cost less than Bo Horvat or Patrick Kane, two players that are expected to be moved at some point this season.
Meier, 26, is in the final year of a four-year deal and is a restricted free agent once the 2022-23 season ends.
The ninth-overall pick in 2015 has 21 goals and 17 assists in 39 games. Ten of his 21 goals have come on the power play, an arena the Islanders have been struggling mightily in.
What Meier Brings
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 178 shots, three behind the league-leading David Pastrnak (181 and 63 shots ahead of Islanders leader Brock Nelson.
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, his speed, possession skills, and finishing ability:
How Meier Can Fit Alongside Barzal
The goal for the New York Islanders is to bring in a high-caliber forward who can not only play with Mathew Barzal, in terms of understanding what needs to be done but also a player that can keep up with his speed.
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.
“I don’t see any reason why he wouldn’t be able to hit the hole like a wide receiver, and he definitely has the speed and size to get ahead of most defenders,” a source familiar with Meier who sees him play regularly told NYI Hockey Now.
San Jose Sharks general manager Mike Grier has not come out and said that Meier will be available or that they are going into a rebuild. So, it’s hard to gauge their thought process, but we can read between the lines.
The Sharks are still trying to figure out if a rebuild is needed or if there is a way to not tear down everything to get back to competing.
Per Sheng Peng, the Sharks and Meier’s camp talked before the season began, while Meier’s agent Claude Lemieux was prepared not to hear much once the season began. The line of communication is not closed, as it seems that the 2022-23 season is serving as a feeling-out process for both parties.
Agent: Meier Doesn’t Expect Offer from Sharks Until After Season
However, it doesn’t seem like there is as much of a push for the Sharks to re-sign Meier as there was to re-sign Hertl.
When Hertl needed a new deal, the Sharks were adamant about keeping him around before signing him to an eight-year deal worth $65.1 million.
The Sharks need to look at the big picture, and right now, they are not ready to compete–and Meier is not getting any younger and can garner a strong return.
Meier is also, as mentioned, a restricted free agent but will command a hefty pay raise.
Timo Meier is in his prime and should provide a strong return for the Sharks if they move him. There are comparable deals out there, such as the deal that the Ottawa Senators made for Alex DeBrincat this past summer. The Blackhawks got a 2022 first and second-rounder and a third-round pick in 2024.
DeBrincat was 24 at the time of the deal, unlike Meier, who is 26. The Senators had DeBrincat for an entire season, while whatever team acquires Meier has him for just a few months unless an extension is agreed upon.
Not to mention, DeBrincat has hit the 40-goal mark twice, so the cost for Meier should be less than DeBrincat.
The return for Meier could be a lottery-value first-round prospect and a second-round pick if an extension is in place, per the source.
The Islanders currently have $4.761 million in accrued deadline cap space, but that number will go up once players are returned to Bridgeport (AHL) after injured players return. They will have enough to bring in Meier’s $6 million cap hit.