This post is part of Sharks Day on PHT…
Timo Meier appeared in 34 regular-season games for the San Jose Sharks in 2016-17, and he also suited up for five postseason contests.
Even so, that felt a bit like a dress rehearsal for the ninth pick of the 2015 NHL Draft.
Meier was held pointless in the playoffs, and he wasn’t a whole lot more effective in the regular season, generating three goals and three assists while averaging 12:28 TOI per game.
Those limited opportunities stand out, and so does a lack of bounces. The Swiss-born forward managed 85 shots on goal in those 34 contests, connecting on just 3.5 percent of them.
It’s easy, then, to imagine a big jump forward if the Sharks give him more ice time and if the puck bounces the right way. Even if Meier is at a more middle-of-the-road shooting percentage, it could be a big difference.
And, let’s be honest, the Sharks could use an infusion of youth. With Patrick Marleau out of town, there’s an opportunity for someone out there, and it’s plausible that Meier could leap over the likes of, say, Mikkel Boedker and Joel Ward.
The experiment could be especially successful if Meier is the latest beneficiary of the Joe Thornton boost.
Thornton has enriched the careers of many up-and-coming snipers, with Jonathan Cheechoo standing as one of the handiest examples. Meier seems especially adept at producing goals (take, for instance, 14 goals versus nine assists at the AHL level in 2015-16), so there could conceivably be some synergy there.
Naturally, that might be asking for too big of a leap from Meier, who will turn 21 in October.
Still, it’s worth consideration, especially if the Sharks decide that they might want to spread out their offense by at least experimenting with having one Joe (Thornton) on one line and Joe Pavelski on another.
Developing a Meier-type from a promising prospect into a productive NHL player could make a big difference in sustaining the Sharks as legitimate contenders, for all we know.