If Rumored Price Is True, New Jersey Devils Should Walk Away From Timo Meier

Timo Meier #28 of the San Jose Sharks. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
Timo Meier #28 of the San Jose Sharks. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images) /

The New Jersey Devils are still the favorites for San Jose Sharks forward Timo Meier. The best player on the trade market is still available just over a week until the NHL Trade Deadline. Mike Grier is reportedly slow playing the entire process. Reports say he won’t let teams negotiate a long-term deal with Meier. That’s forcing teams to decide whether they want to risk trading major assets for Meier while he has an impending $10 million qualifying offer. After he signs that, Meier could walk away as an unrestricted free agent in 2024.

Despite all this, the Sharks are reportedly asking for a player who is likely untouchable. We talked about Dawson Mercer’s possible availability in trade a few weeks ago, and we still stand by our points back then. Do not trade Dawson Mercer for anything.

However, that is apparently what is holding up talks for Timo Meier. NorthJersey.com reporter Robert Aitken Jr. says his sources believe Mercer is the only piece the Sharks keep bringing up.

See, there’s a major sticking point here. “Part of the return” summarizes what this trade has become. The Sharks will ask for Mercer, a first-round pick, and possibly Alexander Holtz or Kevin Bahl. The trade isn’t Mercer for Meier. That’s a different conversation (although it still might be a no).

The fact that the Sharks are looking to get multiple premium pieces for Meier shows they believe they have all the leverage in this situation. Mike Grier is a first-time GM, and he’s also trying to deal with a very complicated Erik Karlsson trade that could sit on their salary cap for the rest of his contract.

The Devils should walk away if Mercer is the bottom line in a Sharks trade. It’s that simple. If he goes to Carolina, then so be it. The Devils are playing with house money this season. Nobody expected them to be this good. That doesn’t mean the Devils shouldn’t try to win the Stanley Cup, but it does mean they need to make moves with their head and not their heart.

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Tom Fitzgerald’s heart might want to make the big move of the season to get Meier, but his head should tell him that Mercer is not worth moving. Paying Meier $8.5 million to $9 million per season and then losing Mercer, who will make considerably less and fill out the lineup, would be detrimental to the Devils future.