Grading the Blockbuster Timo Meier Devils-Sharks Trade

SAN JOSE, CA - JANUARY 16: Timo Meier #28 of the San Jose Sharks skates after the puck in opposition to the Current Jersey Devils at SAP Center on January 16, 2023 in San Jose, California. (Photograph by Kavin Mistry/NHLI by approach to Getty Photos)

Kavin Mistry/NHLI by approach to Getty Photos

The 2023 trading chop-off date has been one crammed with blockbuster strikes. None measure as much as the one the San Jose Sharks and Current Jersey Devils pulled off on Sunday night time.

San Jose Sharks @SanJoseSharks

6:00pm – we now appreciate formally made a commerce

This commerce will singlehandedly change the direction of every groups’ directions for years yet to plot support. Let’s rep factual to breaking down the commerce for every aspect.

Current Jersey Devils

Ignore all of the replacement avid gamers incorporated in this commerce, who had been added purely to even out the sequence of avid gamers exchanged. Right here’s all about Timo Meier.

Meier is a total player. Basically, he is a aim scorer. The Swiss winger ranks 16th among all NHL forwards by objectives scored (66) since 2021-22.

As InStat‘s scheme reveals, Meier is a threat to attain from anywhere within the offensive zone.


From distance, Meier beats goaltenders every from a transient grab-and-open shot or by loading up his legs and slinging it previous goaltenders.

He’s a elephantine 220 kilos for his 6’1″ frame and he makes employ of it well. On the frenzy, Meier is a enormous skater. Once he adds the size, defenders appreciate a elaborate time stopping him. He lowers his shoulder and drives against the win. From there, his silky fingers are adequate to beat the goaltender from in-tight. Meier additionally makes employ of the size and fingers aggregate all one of the best method by approach to the win front within the midst of managed possessions within the offensive zones, entering into traffic for deflections or finding teach to pop into and receive a sprint for tap-ins.

Meier is a succesful passer as well and that has been adequate to effect him a shut to-point-per-game player; he’s tallied 128 aspects in 134 games since the 2021-22 season.

He’s a main contributor earlier than the actual aim production. He’s treasure a freight put together when carrying by approach to the fair zone, yet additionally has the stickhandling capability to sprint laterally with the puck and weave by approach to bodies. Along with his size, he is an asset in biking the puck along the walls. He will get into the zone following dump-ins and pressures the defenseman, forcing misplays of the puck.

The Devils are purchasing surely some of the 15-most attention-grabbing wingers within the NHL, and that may well presumably be underselling him. As stunning as the Newark-essentially based crew turned into once, a top-line winger turned into once sorely missing. There is a motive total manager Tom Fitzgerald tried to signal Johnny Gaudreau over the summer. And whereas he did land Ondřej Palát, the dilapidated Lightning forward has easiest 14 aspects in 27 games in Current Jersey and ideally sits decrease on the depth chart. If and when the Devils face the elite hover combinations owned by groups corresponding to the Rangers, Maple Leafs, and Boston Bruins, the likes of Jesper Bratt and Yegor Sharangovich would appreciate paled in comparison.

Whether or now not head coach Lindy Ruff deploys Meier with Swiss buddy Nico Hischier or Jack Hughes, he’ll directly change accurate into a main give a resolve to and the acceptable winger on the crew.

Basically the most attention-grabbing segment for the Devils? Meier is suitable 26 years dilapidated and can simply quiet be a restricted free agent within the summer. The two aspects appreciate now not agreed to a contract extension yet and the $10M qualifying offer he is due complicates the problem, but one would imagine that the Devils don’t effect the deal within the occasion that they’re now not assured that Meier has mutual ardour in staying in Current Jersey. Meier is now not appropriate a main addition for a Stanley Cup flee this season but appreciate to be a foundational piece of the franchise for the following 5-plus years.

The Devils did hand over an assortment of property—more on that later—however the pieces they moved are bigger than price it. This is able to well presumably be simply for any crew, but it is in particular simply for the Devils. No key avid gamers or prospects went to San Jose. Basically the most critical is defenseman Shakir Mukhamadullin, whom the crew drafted Twentieth overall in 2020. Whereas he is a stunning prospect, the Devils’ future on defense is loaded with better suggestions together with Šimon Nemec, Luke Hughes, and Seamus Casey. His loss is now not going to remotely appreciate an effect on the crew’s capability to make a defense for the following decade. With surely some of the head prospect pools within the league, the Devils can desire up the loss of the two first-round picks.

Basically the most easy knock on this deal for the Devils is that the commerce comes with out the framework for a lengthy-timeframe extension to Meier performed. Until confirmed in every other case, there isn’t any motive to apprehension about that. Right here’s an unequivocal resolve for the Devils.

Grade: A

San Jose Sharks

Let’s first offer some sympathy to Sharks total manager Mike Grier. The first-year GM inherited a contaminated crew and not utilizing a life like pathway to a transient turnaround. Meier can also very well be younger in accordance with the Devils’ timeline, but Meier may well presumably be on the harmful aspect of 30 by the point Grier has San Jose ready to contend.

And that’s the explanation assuming an unlikely sing whereby Meier, living to be an unrestricted free agent in 2024, would appreciate willingly re-signed in San Jose.

He had a top player to offer all one of the best method by approach to the league however the $10M qualifying offer he will be due within the summer complicates matters. Were Meier to rep that offer, he’d be on an costly cap hit for appropriate one season earlier than he may well presumably stroll away free of price in July 2024.

Grier had itsy-bitsy replacement but to sprint his crew’s top player in sub-optimal circumstances. He chanced on a trading companion in Current Jersey and brought various property to his franchise.

The quite a lot of NHLer incorporated is Fabian Zetterlund. The 23-year-dilapidated winger has accumulated nine objectives and 19 assists in 59 NHL games since 2021-22. These are solid numbers for a player who has averaged roughly 13 minutes of ice time per game. Nonetheless the Swede’s distinctiveness is on the defensive aspect of the puck. He’s a cerebral player who makes all of the factual choices within the fair and defensive zones. Evolving Hockey’s model places him within the seventieth percentile by his defensive affect this season. He’ll appreciate a nice profession as a bottom-six winger.

Andreas Johnsson, additionally incorporated within the deal, has performed 248 NHL games but fell out of prefer this season. The Devils placed him on waivers to originate the season and, upon clearing, sent him all of the manner down to the AHL. He has a history of bottom-six potential but, at 28 years dilapidated and an unrestricted free agent in July, he and his $3.4M cap hit had been seemingly incorporated as a monetary consideration.

The pause prospect within the deal, as beforehand noted, is Shakir Mukhamadullin. When the Devils drafted Mukhamadulin he turned into once a projectable but uncooked prospect. He’s 6’3″ and a enormous skater in all four directions. On the time of the draft he had now not confirmed powerful offensive prowess nor adequate hockey IQ. The Devils had been banking on the muse that he’d figure that out with coaching and experience.

Up to now they’ve been stunning, as a minimal to an extent. The 21-year-dilapidated is averaging 17:23 in ice time for Salavat Yulaev of the KHL (per InStat) and has easy 25 aspects in 67 games. Whereas his game has matured in some aspects the final concerns remain. He’s erratic with the puck. He doesn’t direction of unfolding plays at a high scurry. His success in arguably the sector’s 2nd-most attention-grabbing league is encouraging and the Sharks will be in field to give him a lengthy rope when they carry him over to North The US. Given his bodily capabilities and the enhancements made to his overall game, Mukhamadulin seems to be treasure a stunning bet to effect the NHL as a minimal as a third-pairing defenseman. He has the toolbox to upward push elevated up the depth chart, but he’ll need reasonably a range of guidance from the factual instructing staff to rep him there.

Scouts cherished Nikita Okhotyuk a year before the 2019 NHL draft. His stock cooled some however the Devils took him on the slay of the 2nd round.

Okhotyuk, 22, is a bodily, laborious-working defenseman. He’s relentless physically. He sacrifices his body to block shots. He works laborious every shift. The Russian has never fared well offensively at even the junior stage, which usually is now not a enormous signal even for a shutdown defenseman, but he does appreciate the variety of taking part celebrated to potentially buck the event. He’s serene, although unimpressive, with the puck. The Devils gave him 15 NHL games over the final two seasons and the Sharks can also simply resolve to give him an NHL role directly. Okhotyuk has a gamble to change accurate into a depth defenseman who plays a elaborate game, raze penalty minutes, and earns the distinction of his teammates.

The Sharks additionally receive a 2023 first-round grab and a conditional 2024 2nd-round grab; if the Devils effect the Jap Conference Last in both 2023 or 2024 then the draft grab will change into the Devils’ 2024 first-round grab.

It appears to be like treasure Grier focused quantity over quality in this commerce. When one seems to be support at same sorts of trades groups usually land a top prospect. The Blue Jackets got Adam Boqvist plus two first-round picks in return for Seth Jones. The Canadiens milked Nick Suzuki from Vegas within the Max Pacioretty commerce. That the Sharks sprint out a borderline elite NHL forward and do not receive so powerful as a top-100 NHL prospect in return is a main disappointment.

Statistically, the probabilities that the Devils set effect the Jap Conference Last are seemingly to be now not enormous, and within the occasion that they set the Sharks will quiet land two very leisurely first-round picks. Unless San Jose’s scouting staff completely nails the draft, it seems to be very seemingly that Sharks set now not plot away with a single distinction-maker from this commerce.

The mess Grier inherited is in no potential his fault, and Meier’s contract sing did now not reduction matters, but his first main endeavor in control of the Sharks leaves plenty to be desired.

Grade: C-

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