If you crave drama, and thus have a list of possible offer sheet candidates going, it sounds like you can cross emerging San Jose Sharks winger Timo Meier off of that list.
Meier and the Sharks have come to terms and it’s an absolute steal: just $6 million per year, with a four-year term.
That’s incredible value for a forward who’s rapidly rising on the list of the Sharks’ best forwards – not young forwards, just forwards, period – especially since he’s made such a difference without getting the sort of power play time you’d expect a younger scorer to need. With Joe Pavelski out, Gustav Nyquist removed from the picture, and Joe Thornton examining his future, the odds are high that Meier will ascend to that larger role, probably as soon as 2019-20. Don’t be surprised if eye-popping numbers come with that … in fact, close that offer sheet list, and put Meier on your fantasy hockey sleepers list.
[ProHockeyTalk’s 2019 NHL free agency tracker]
If you watched Meier during the Sharks’ deep run in the 2019 Stanley Cup Playoffs, you saw a guy who could bull his way to scoring chances and generally make life miserable for opponents. My guess is that Meier will massively outpace that $6M cap hit, probably right away.
It’s actually pretty stunning Meier didn’t try to squeeze out more value here. You know it’s a good deal for the Sharks when you see tweets like these:
Now, some might note that the 22-year-old is only locked down for four years. You can be concerned about the future, but it’s remarkable that the Sharks would maintain some RFA power over Meier. Granted, there are elements that work in Meier’s favor, too:
Overall, this is fantastic stuff for the Sharks. Yes, they’ve had to say some painful goodbyes, but in retaining Meier and re-signing Erik Karlsson, San Jose seems keen to find a way to stay in contention. If that window’s open even longer than expected, it will be because Meier can really carry the torch once Karlsson and Brent Burns inevitably slow down.
James O’Brien is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter @cyclelikesedins.