Why Timo Meier probably shouldn’t play another game for the San Jose Sharks

Why Timo Meier probably shouldn’t play another game for the San Jose Sharks

SAN JOSE — Timo Meier will not play Saturday when the San Jose Sharks host the Chicago Blackhawks, and it’s fair to wonder whether the 26-year-old forward has competed in his last game for the organization.

Meier, the NHL’s most talked about player prior to March 3 trade deadline, skated Saturday morning as he continued to work his way back from what’s been described as an upper-body injury, which has now kept him out for three straight games. The Sharks play two more times next week before the deadline, as they host the Montreal Canadiens on Tuesday and the St. Louis Blues on Thursday.

With so much at stake for the Sharks, who need to maximize their return for Meier if he does get traded, it makes almost no sense for them to play him between now and Friday. His injury hasn’t been described as serious, but if Meier re-aggravates the injury in some way or gets hurt in another fashion, that could jeopardize any trade prior to Friday.

Sharks coach David Quinn said Saturday that he and general manager Mike Grier have not had a conversation yet about sitting Meier since he hasn’t been healthy enough to play. But that could change if Meier feels better.

“We’ll see how he feels,” later today, Quinn said Saturday morning, “and then I’m sure we’ll have discussions after that regarding those situations. I coach the team and obviously Mike and I talk every day but I leave all of that up to him.”

Meier’s been connected to a handful of NHL teams in trade rumors, with the New Jersey Devils and Carolina Hurricanes at the forefront of that speculation. Other teams that reportedly have interest in Meier include the Winnipeg Jets, Vegas Golden Knights and St. Louis Blues. Pierre LeBrun of TSN and The Athletic tweeted Saturday morning that trade talks were “heating up” between the Sharks and a narrowing list of potential suitors, as San Jose’s front office decides how it wants to proceed.

Meier, a pending restricted free agent, said Saturday he would be open to re-signing with the Sharks long-term, but that he and his agent, ex-Shark Claude Lemieux, have not had any talks about an extension with San Jose’s front office.

The 6-foot-2 and 210-pound Meier was drafted ninth overall by the Sharks in 2015. Since he turned pro prior to the 2016-2017 season, Meier is the Sharks’ fourth-leading point-getter, with 154 goals and 316 points in 451 games. Only Logan Couture scored more goals (162) in that time.

“He is the prototype of modern-day power forward and it’s very tough to find players like that,” Couture said Saturday. “A 30-goal scorer, so obviously he’s a tremendous player. Organizations have decisions to make and they make them, and as players, you live with what’s done and our job is to show up and play hockey and really that’s all we control in this room.”

Even with Meier, the Sharks entered Saturday 29th out of 32 teams in the NHL standings with an 18-30-11 record. Trading Meier gives the Sharks a chance to supplement their prospect pool and add to a cadre of players who could have an impact at the NHL level within a two or three-year span.

San Jose Sharks right wing Timo Meier (28) celebrates his goal against the Tampa Bay Lightning with defenseman Erik Karlsson (65) and center Tomas Hertl (48) during the second period of an NHL hockey game Tuesday, Feb. 7, 2023, in Tampa, Fla. (AP Photo/Chris O’Meara)

Asked if he thinks he’s already played his last game for the Sharks, which would have been Feb. 18 against Buffalo, Meier said, “I don’t really think like that. If it happens, it happens, but my full concentration right now is getting healthy.

“I don’t really know too much right now.”

Meier is making $10 million in salary this season. He is due a qualifying offer of that amount if he and the team he is with cannot reach an agreement on a long-term contract before the start of free agency on July 1, otherwise, he would become an unrestricted free agent.

The Devils reportedly want an extension done with Meier, or at least be close to one, before they part with the type of assets necessary to complete a deal with San Jose. The Hurricanes, though, do not necessarily need that same type of assurance to finalize a trade for Meier.

Asked if he’s open to signing long-term elsewhere before the end of the season, Meier said, “It depends on the situation. Like I said there’s nothing (imminent). We’ll see how it plays out. If teams pay a certain price, they might want to have an extension done but as of now there’s nothing done.”


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