Veteran winger Joel Ward has just two goals in 30 games this season for the San Jose Sharks, so tonight in Montreal he’ll be a healthy scratch, replaced by 20-year-old Timo Meier, who will be making his NHL debut.
“Just want him to get through the first game without feeling too nervous, and jump in with both feet and go to work,” DeBoer said, per CSN Bay Area. “He’s a good player, he belongs up here.”
Meier, the ninth overall draft pick in 2015, was called up after scoring nine goals in 17 games for the AHL’s San Jose Barracuda.
As for Ward?
“There’s no easy way. Those aren’t easy conversations,” DeBoer said, per The Mercury News. “He’s a proud guy. He’s a great player and he’s a great teammate and he was a key guy for us last year on the run. Those aren’t easy and we don’t take them lightly. But those are the decisions we have to make.”
Ward logged just 11:01 in Wednesday’s 4-3 shootout win in Ottawa. The 36-year-old scored 21 goals last season, then seven more in the playoffs as the Sharks made it all the way to the Stanley Cup Final.
Ward is signed through next season for a cap hit of $3.275 million.