Timo Meier and Curtis Lazar Trades Make New Jersey Devils Tougher

Timo Meier #96 of the New Jersey Devils makes his debut with the team in the first period against the Arizona Coyotesat Mullett Arena on March 05, 2023 in Tempe, Arizona. (Photo by Zac BonDurant/Getty Images)
Timo Meier #96 of the New Jersey Devils makes his debut with the team in the first period against the Arizona Coyotesat Mullett Arena on March 05, 2023 in Tempe, Arizona. (Photo by Zac BonDurant/Getty Images) /

The New Jersey Devils pulled off an overtime win against the Arizona Coyotes, thanks in part to Timo Meier’s first goal in his first game with his new team. The Devils must prepare for a playoff atmosphere when they welcome the Toronto Maple Leafs on Tuesday night. Coincidentally when the Devils traded for Ilya Kovalchuk, they also played the Maple Leafs in a game the very next night.

That game was a come-from-behind thanks to Travis Zajac’s third-period goal to tie it. Assisting on that goal was the newly-crowned Devil Kovalchuk. That setup of plays was a textbook offensive tactic. Later in that 3rd period, Jay Pandolfo won the game on a rebound goal to give the Devils a big win in Kovalchuk’s debut.

Disclaimer, no this is not about Ilya Kovalchuk, but the vibes of a player like Timo Meier reminds us of that acquisition. He’s a big goal-scoring winger that’s coming to a team with high hopes in the playoffs.

After watching Meier’s first goal playing away in Arizona he knew where to be smelling the opportunity to create scoring chances. The deepness going in against Toronto will make it all but more difficult for the Maple Leafs to try and spoil the party with Timo making his Prudential Center debut in New Jersey.

It is likely The Rock is absolutely electric on Tuesday after the Maple Leafs ended the Devils 13-game winning streak in an incredibly controversial fashion. The fanfare around Timo Meier already had Arizona feeling more like a Devils home game.

Curtis Lazar acquisition 

With a player like Curtis Lazar on his way, the New Jersey Devils can start to look more like Sasquatch to other teams by hitting, blocking shots, creating counter-offensives, and making opponents feel miserable. He’s a clubhouse character who keeps his teammates feeling loose and enjoying the good vibes. He can chirp and agitate opponents, lead the bottom-six line, and out hit his opponents, softening up opposing defenses.

In the above graph, Tom Fitzgerald acquired a guy who can create higher percentage odds of scoring regions below the faceoff dots, crease, and behind the net. He can exit his own zone via transition. Defensively, he’s a very solid bottom-six guy who recovers the puck like a rottweiler with very vicious intentions and is hard for opponents to create offense against.

Having a “meat and potatoes” type of player who has been in so many playoff games with Ottawa, Calgary, and Boston shows he’s not your typical grinder. He can win a decent amount of faceoffs and bring more of an edge than Michael McLeod. The Devils could toy with Wood, Bastian, and Lazar and slot them differently on the bottom six.

If the Devils had Lazar versus Calgary in New Jersey earlier in the season that game wouldn’t even be a close match because the Flames were playing like their 2021-22 playoff-heavy physical hockey without Matthew Tkachuk and Johnny Gaudreau lost in the offseason. The hard-hitting aspects were missing earlier in the season, and now GM Tom Fitzgerald made up for it by adding a guy like Lazar.

A boldened Devils team is gearing up for a playoff run and willing to start big, gritty, snarly, Chewbacca-style hockey. Having the Miles Wood, Bastian, Meier, and Lazar-type guys part of this team will teach opponents a lesson, “do not get comfortable; get ready to fear New Jersey.” If the Devils can tighten up defensively and get things rolling in front of a raucous home crowd, it’ll make opponents fear and respect the Devils 2022-23 team even more.

Strengthening Their Odds In The Standings 

The Devils are on pace for 112 points this season and are trying to overtake the Carolina Hurricanes for the Metropolitan Division lead. This team can bully their way in the neutral zone and win as many offensive zone battles, cashing in big time on more chances they get come playoff time. Dawson Mercer is already a beast on offense, Hischier is coming up clutch, and Jack Hughes doesn’t need to do all the heavy lifting with Timo Meier in the lineup.

Having another huge key to your offense that can win in a physical game and start fitting in a defensive portion makes it even tougher for opponents to pierce through that formation. Watching how this team goes from a medium-tough to a bulldog mentality is going to help separate them even more.

New Jersey Swiss Devils

The four Swiss nationals on this roster bring a ton of fanfare from across the pond. Don’t be surprised if fans and the team embrace playing the Swiss Alp Horn and a Swiss cowbell. After every Devils home goal this season, fans are already cranking up the decibel meter. When Timo Meier scores his first home goal as a Devil expect a long delay for a standing ovation.

Don’t be surprised to see the New Jersey Devils get more viewers from Switzerland, whether they’d be from the country’s French, German, Italian, or even Rumantsch-speaking regions. Switzerland has been a hockey hotbed in recent drafts, and acquisitions of the Devils have been adding a lot of amazing players that happen to be Swiss.

Next. Timo Meier Scouting Report. dark

The emergence of Nico Hischier becoming an elite two-way clutch center, Jonas Siegenthaler becoming a more shutdown defender, Akira Schmid becoming a very solid and composed Swiss Guard netminder, and now the addition of Timo Meier becoming that dual-threat Swiss pikeman has the Devils covered in all areas of the ice.