While the San Jose Sharks have been in the midst of a slump, many of their players have been experiencing similar levels of struggle. As the team’s core ages, many players have passed their peak. Getting consistent production has been one of the most significant issues with the Sharks since their run to the Western Conference Final in 2019. However, one player has managed to find his game despite the team’s struggles, that being Timo Meier.
Meier has been one of the most promising players on the Sharks since he was drafted in 2015. He spent a few years struggling to keep a consistent level of production, but as of the 2021-22 season, he broke out as the team’s leading scorer. Clearly, he’s reached the level he always projected to. However, with the team’s status in question, there is no better time than the present to consider trading him.
Meier’s Value at an All-time High
This season was the first time Meier came close to a point-per-game average in the NHL. In 77 games, he put up 76 points, 35 of which were goals. Towards the beginning of the season, he was even in the discussion for the Hart Trophy. The Sharks needed a player like him if they wanted to have any chance of making the playoffs. However, the rest of the team still managed to underperform. With this in mind, the team now has an opportunity to sell while Meier’s value is at its highest.
The return on trades this season was sporadic at best. There was a much larger emphasis put on the situation of players rather than baseline numbers. For example, the trade return between Claude Giroux, an older player in the last year of his contract, and Jack Eichel, a young player on the back end of surgery, was relatively similar. The Sharks could take advantage of that and look to trade Meier, a young player who scored at phenomenal rates on a below-average Sharks team.
There are plenty of teams desperate to win a Stanley Cup. The Florida Panthers, Colorado Avalanche, Tampa Bay Lightning, and many other teams all are knocking on the door of a championship. As evidenced by the Brandon Hagel trade, teams are willing to throw everything at the wall to win hockey’s ultimate prize. If the Sharks asked around on a Meier trade, there would undoubtedly be a suitor.
The Sharks’ Uncertain Future
As the Sharks continue to search for a new general manager, it seems like they are pushing towards making the playoffs. However, the team is undoubtedly in need of a change for a new run of success. As of right now, every aspect of the squad is lacking. If the Sharks decide to take the route of a rebuild or retool, trading Meier could begin to take the team in the right direction.
There are many reasons why the Sharks should be leaning towards a rebuild, but Meier’s position as a young, high-end performer is massive. A proper rebuild involves using assets with a lot of value to acquire future assets. However, the value of many of the current roster members is questionable at best. In addition, questions of age and consistency make trading other contracts more difficult. If the Sharks want to build their assets, Meier would easily bring back the best return.
Can Meier Maintain Consistency?
While Meier completely took over in the scoring categories this season, this has been his first year reaching the point totals he did. In addition, he has constantly been in question by management and fans alike as to whether or not there is any sort of consistency in his playing style (from ‘In All-Star season, Sharks’ Timo Meier finally living up to his lofty billing, ‘ San Francisco Chronicle, 1/15/22). He had a great year, but whether or not his momentum will carry over into next season is still up in the air.
While an argument can be made that it would make sense for the Sharks to hang onto Meier and see where his development goes, that could prove to be a long-term risk to the team. If he continues to produce at the rate he did this season, there is a chance that by the time the remainder of the team is ready to perform, he will have passed his prime. Conversely, if Meier regresses, the Sharks could miss out on a lot of assets they could have otherwise gathered.
In the end, what the Sharks plan on doing with Meier will depend on who they hire as the new general manager. If the team plans on continuing to push for the playoffs, there is basically no chance he gets traded anytime soon. However, if they go down the rebuild route, he could be a great asset to shop around the league. There are a lot of questions that need addressing, but until then, all anyone can do is speculate.
Andrew Stille is a freelance writer for THW who is currently studying Journalism and Communication in college. In addition, he’s a devoted NHL content creator looking to grow and learn daily. Andrew is a trustworthy source for everything San Jose Sharks-related and strives to create fun and exciting articles for all readers.
Other contributions include: Puck Prose and PuckEmpire.com
For interview requests or to provide content info, follow Andrew on Twitter