Every night the evening news asks “It’s 10:00 p.m., do you know where your children are?” Well, it’s the end of February, do we know where Timo Meier is? He’s still on the San Jose Sharks and has yet to be traded as the NHL trade deadline comes closer and closer.
Meier, who’s a pending restricted free agent, is an attractive option for plenty of teams. Two teams that have emerged as front runners are the Carolina Hurricanes and the New Jersey Devils.
Both have the need for Meier’s services, as well as assets to make a trade happen, but New Jersey has emerged as a front-runner.
The Sharks seemingly have a perfect trade partner for Meier in the Devils.
Maybe it’s their exciting breakout season. Maybe it’s the Swiss connection with captain Nico Hischier. Maybe it’s because Meier is seemingly everything the Devils need and more.
Let’s not forget that former Devil and NHL Network analyst Mike Rupp has been publicly campaigning for Meier to trade Sharks teal for black and red via Twitter for some time.
So what’s holding up a seemingly inevitable trade that could benefit both sides? The breaking point for New Jersey has apparently been San Jose’s insistence that Dawson Mercer be included in the deal.
The second-year forward is currently riding a five-game goal streak, including a two-goal performance that saw him net the overtime winner against the Los Angeles Kings on Thursday.
It’s easy to see why San Jose would want Mercer, as he can immediately be inserted into their lineup while continuing to develop into an even better player, but his value to the Devils grows more and more each day.
If New Jersey was hesitant to move him to begin with, it seems close to impossible that happens now.
Further complicating a potential trade are reports about how Sharks general manager Mike Grier is handling any potential extensions with Meier. Last month, he said that other teams would be able to discuss any potential extension with Meier.
Yes, Meier is a restricted free agent and will remain under team control past this season. Still, that’s something that’s only guaranteed in the short term. Meier could always opt for the short bridge deal to test the big money free agency water in a few years.
Does a team that trades for him really want to be in a Patrick Laine situation?
The Devils are obviously building for their present and their future, which is why Meier is a great target instead of a more traditional rental. With their cornerstones Jack Hughes and Nico Hischier previously signed to long-term deals, they want to do the same with Meier.
Remember, the Devils have their own winger who’s also a pending restricted free agent in Jesper Bratt. Why would they want to have double the potential contract drama this summer?
The good news for both the Devils and Sharks is there is still time. The clock is ticking, but we are not in the eleventh hour yet. Grier budging on teams being able to negotiate with Meier seems more likely than the Devils sending off Mercer.
If Grier would allow that to happen, then New Jersey could kick negotiating into high gear.