At the time of this writing, the Detroit Red Wings have a 21-19-8 record and are seven points behind the Pittsburgh Penguins for the final wild card spot in the Eastern Conference. Although Detroit has taken a step in the right direction, it is becoming rather apparent that their playoff hopes are significantly low at this portion of the year. As a result, it is unlikely that we will see them browse the trade market for rentals.
However, the Red Wings are also in a position where they can add high-impact players if they become long-term parts of their group. Due to this, there are now rumblings that the Red Wings are interested in a star forward from the San Jose Sharks.
Timo Meier Available From Sharks
Earlier this season, NHL insider Pierre LeBrun reported that the Sharks are willing to hear offers for just about every player on their roster besides Tomas Hertl. Since then, general manager (GM) Mike Grier has made it known that he is willing to trade star winger Timo Meier if the right offer comes around. With this news, it appears that the Sharks are ready to embark on a much-needed and legitimate full-on rebuild.
There’s no question that Meier is getting and will continue to receive a ton of attention around the league until the trade deadline passes. After all, the 26-year-old is once again having a very good season this year, as he has an impressive 28 goals to go along with 48 points in 51 games. With that, he is a pending restricted free agent (RFA), so both contenders and non-playoff teams are in a position to pursue him. This, in turn, has made him the top trade deadline target following the Bo Horvat blockbuster.
With all of this, The Fourth Period has reported that the Red Wings are in fact one of the teams looking to acquire Meier before the deadline passes. Given the fact that they have cap space and look like they could compete for a playoff spot as soon as next season, now is the time where they can make a big trade centering around Meier.
Why the Red Wings Could Use Meier
When looking at Detroit’s lineup, it is promising, but it also could use another legitimate star. If the Red Wings were to acquire Meier, he would be an immediate fit on their first line with captain Dylan Larkin and youngster Lucas Raymond. However, if the Red Wings wanted to spread out their star players, Meier could also be utilized on their second line with Andrew Copp and David Perron. Either way, Detroit’s top six would be significantly better if they added the 2015 first-round pick.
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With that, Meier would provide the Red Wings’ power play with a significant boost moving forward. At this point of the year, they currently rank 20th in the league with a power play percentage of 20.1%. Needless to say, this is an area that needs to improve both in the present and the future. Furthermore, Meier’s strong two-way play would give the Red Wings another potential option for the penalty kill.
Yet, perhaps the biggest reason why the Red Wings should consider Meier is because he will remain under team control this offseason. Although he has a $10 million qualifying offer, there’s a good chance that he will be open to a long-term contract at a lower cap hit this offseason. With the Red Wings having several pending unrestricted free agents (UFA) like Tyler Bertuzzi, Pius Suter, Oskar Sundqvist, Adam Erne, and Olli Maatta, they are going to have plenty of cap space to work with this offseason. Therefore, it is very possible that they could get a Meier extension done with ease. Furthermore, if they did sign him, he would become a significant part of their core moving forward.
Potential Blockbuster Between Red Wings & Sharks
Recently, we saw the New York Islanders part ways with Anthony Beauvillier, top prospect Aatu Raty, and their 2023 first-round pick (top-12 protected) to acquire Horvat from the Vancouver Canucks. As a result, we now have a better understanding as to what the Sharks would expect in any trade centering around Meier. For the Red Wings to acquire him, they would need to part ways with their 2024 first-round pick, prospect William Wallinder, and Michael Rasmussen to get this deal through.
It seems unlikely that the Red Wings would consider moving Simon Edvinsson or Marco Kasper for Meier, so Wallinder would be their next best option. The 2020 second-round pick has been developing his game quite nicely and has all the tools to be a very effective top-four defenseman at the NHL level later down the road. The 6-foot-4 defenseman has been excellent for Rogle BK of the Swedish Hockey League (SHL) this season, too, as he has five goals and 23 points in 40 games. With all of this, he has the potential to be ready for the NHL as soon as next season.
It is quite likely that the Sharks would love to get their hands on Rasmussen, too. Although San Jose is setting up for a rebuild, the 2017 first-round pick is still just 23 years old and would fit perfectly in it. The 6-foot-6 forward is also having a very solid season for the Red Wings, as he has nine goals and 24 points in 46 games. Although there would be some risk parting ways with him, the Red Wings would be replacing him with a legitimate star in Meier.
Nevertheless, it is clear that the Red Wings have the assets to acquire Meier. We will need to wait and see if their interest in him leads to them being the lucky team to acquire him at the 2023 Trade Deadline from here.