The New Jersey Devils have acquired Timo Meier, Scott Harrington, Timur Ibragimov, Santeri Hatakka, Zachary Emond, and a 2024 fifth-round pick from the San Jose Sharks in exchange for Fabian Zetterlund, Shakir Mukhamadullin, Nikita Okhotiuk, Andreas Johnsson, a conditional 2023 first-round pick, a conditional 2024 second-round pick, and a 2024 seventh-round pick. The Sharks will also retain 50 percent of Meier’s salary for the remainder of the season.
Meier is a traditional power forward who brings exactly what any playoff team needs. He has been a part of a struggling Sharks team, and although he has performed well this season, the likelihood of him staying long-term was low. So far this season, Meier, 26, has 52 points (31 goals, 21 assists) in 57 games, and is in his seventh year in the NHL, all being with the Sharks. He has played in 35 career playoff games and has 20 points. During the 2019 Playoffs, he and the Sharks went to Game 6 of the Western Conference Final before being eliminated by the Colorado Avalanche. Unfortunately, he didn’t make it to the Stanley Cup Final, but he does have the experience of winning playoff rounds. He also knows what it takes to compete in the post-season, which everyone knows is a whole different beast.
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Meier is a restricted free agent at the end of the season, and that comes with a qualifying offer (QO) of $10 million, which is owed to him unless he agrees to another deal. There was a belief that he had permission to speak to other teams regarding an extension. However, there was no sign and trade in place, so only time will tell if he does sign another contract with the Devils at the end of the season, but for now, there is no extension in the works. However, they now own his rights and can extend him his qualifying offer.
Meier’s Fit on the Devils
Meier is a modern-day power forward in today’s game and will slide nicely into the Devils’ top six. He brings goal-scoring, playmaking, hits, blocks, and fights to a team that is ramping up to make a playoff push. New Jersey has had limited playoff success in the last decade, but the addition of Meier could move them into the top contender in the Metropolitan Division.
The Devils are battling with the Carolina Hurricanes for the top spot in their division, and the addition of Meier makes their chances dramatically better. The expectation should be to play alongside fellow countrymen and team captain Nico Hischier on the team’s top line. As a result, there would be competition for who else plays on that line with them, between Dawson Mercer and Tomas Tatar. The Devils are once again looking like they could be a dominant force in the Eastern Conference for years to come, especially after acquiring a player of Meier’s calibre. Harrington is the additional player in the transaction, which provides New Jersey with some defensive depth for their playoff run. He signed with the Sharks at the start of the season after joining camp on a professional tryout. Hatakka and Emond were both part of the Sharks’ organization and will now join the Devils system.
The Return for the Sharks
As previously mentioned, the return for Meier and Harrington is three prospects, a roster player, and three draft picks. The Sharks are in full-on rebuild mode and want to ensure it is done right, and this trade reflects that. Acquiring this package from the Devils helps their future and the team’s chances of competing for a playoff spot in the next five seasons.
Zetterlund, 23, was a third-round selection by the Devils in the 2017 NHL Draft. Since being drafted he has been in the American Hockey League with their affiliate the Utica Comets. However, this season he has played in 45 NHL games and has collected six goals and 14 assists for 20 points. Zetterlund will most likely report to the Sharks and stay with the club for the remainder of the season.
Both Mukhamadullin and Okhotiuk will be like Emond and Hatakka and will be moving from one organization’s system to the other. As for Johnsson, he was placed on waivers earlier this season and went unclaimed. He will be given a new chance to stay in the NHL with the Sharks.
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The 2023 first-round pick will be a later selection in the upcoming draft, however, it will help the Sharks due to its depth. This pick will leave the Sharks with two first-rounders and 11 picks in the 2023 Draft to help rebuild their team. Both of the Devils’ picks going to the Sharks are tied with conditions that could slide the pick to next year if the conditions aren’t met.
Overall, this trade took almost four and a half hours to complete due to an injury to a player that was supposed to be involved. After the teams removed that player and replaced him with another, the deal was announced. The trade is a big deal with a lot of moving parts, however, the main piece (Meier) has found a new home and will be given the chance to compete for a Stanley Cup.
I’m a journalist who specializes in investigative reporting and writing. I have written for the New York Times and other publications.