It seems like the only thing New Jersey Devils fans can talk about right now is a star winger on the San Jose Sharks. Timo Meier is the trade target of choice. However, we’re still a month and a half away from the trade deadline. It’s hard to believe a trade could be imminent. It’s high tide for trade rumors, and many say the Devils want to make a move. A big one. Meier would certainly fit the bill.
Meier would fit perfectly in the Devils system and roster construction. He’s already built chemistry with Nico Hischier from their time playing for the Swiss team at World Championships. People have been pining for Meier for years, but the Sharks never really had to trade him before.
On July 1, 2019, Meier signed for four years with the Sharks. The deal helped the Sharks in the short term, with major signing bonuses in the first two years but only $700,000 in salary. That changes in the final year, when the Sharks are paying him a $10 million salary.
Here is where the Sharks have to make a move. Just to give Meier a qualifying offer, the Sharks need to match that $10 million salary. That also comes with a $10 million cap hit unless Meier comes to a long-term agreement. If the Sharks get stuck with that hit (which they won’t), they’d only have $6 million to play with this offseason to fill out its roster (although they could also trade Erik Karlsson, which opens up a lot more).
The Sharks aren’t paying that $10 million salary. They are going nowhere this season, so they want to trade Meier now. However, now doesn’t necessarily mean now.
The Sharks are going to milk this experience. Sharks GM and former Devils coach Mike Grier has a lot on his plate. There’s the Meier situation, but he also has to figure out what to do with Erik Karlsson. That trade package will be so complicated with retained salary and finding the right compensation that the Sharks will likely make moving him more of a priority. He bounced back in a huge way, so the Sharks want to find the right partner before his value drops.
Meier will likely get traded in March. Grier wants someone to blow him away with an offer. The Sharks assistant GM was in the building for Devils-Golden Knights on Tuesday, but that could mean anything. It’s pretty clear the Devils are interested in Meier, so let the process play out. Fans can get mad if he ends up on the Rangers or Islanders. Still, that’s not happening for more than a month.