Top 3 Sleeper Picks for NHL MVP in 2021-2022 Season

Matt Duchene, Nashville Predators (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
Matt Duchene, Nashville Predators (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images) /
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3. Timo Meier, San Jose Sharks

Timo Meier has seemingly come out of nowhere this season. So far, he has amassed 21 goals and 26 assists for 47 points during the current campaign. His assist and point totals both lead the San Jose Sharks. This would be the first season in his career in which he recorded a point per game or better.

His plus-minus is also worth noting, as his plus-14 rating is a career-high. He is one of seven San Jose skaters with a positive rating, and if you combine those of the other six, Meier matches them. The next closest mark is a plus-8 on a Sharks team that owns a -16 goal differential.

In addition to his career year in terms of plus-minus and points per contest, Meier has been scoring goals in key moments at a greater rate than in any other season. His seven power play goals not only make up the best total of his career, but they’re also more than twice the number of any of his teammates. His six game-winning goals and 12.5 shooting percentage are also career-bests.

As a result of his overall impressive contributions, the Sharks have continued to stay competitive in the Western Conference. It seems like no matter how many times San Jose is counted out as an old team or a team that isn’t talented enough, it just keeps coming back, and this season, that’s largely because of Meier.

The Sharks have a 22-20-4 record on the year, which puts them in sixth place in the Pacific Division. The team ranks in the bottom half of the NHL in both goals per game and goals against per game, which makes Meier’s plus-14 and 47 points (in 41 games) all the more impressive. Entering Saturday, San Jose is seven points out of a playoff spot.

To have a real shot at winning the MVP, Meier will need to get his Sharks into the postseason, and that’s why he’s at the bottom of this list. If he can’t get them there, then he’s out of contention for this award as far as I’m concerned. In the meantime, the fact that his team has a path to the playoffs at all lands him on this list.