Saturday, July 13, 2024

What Timo Meier’s trade means to rebuild the San Jose Sharks


Mike Grier still doesn’t think this is a complete rebuild, but trading Timo Meier is a stark reminder that this is unlikely to be a quick and painless process moving forward for the San Jose Sharks.

The Sharks sent Meyer, who has scored 66 since the start of last season, to the New Jersey Devils on Sunday in a big and complex deal that included nine players and a four-man.

“We’re trying to turn this thing around as fast as I can, but also get the right people involved and take the right steps and not rush into it,” Greer said. “You can see what we did with our young players with Barracuda. ​​It’s kind of a step-by-step plan. It’s retooling, rebuilding… I’ll leave that (to the media) to put whatever word you want.”

The three key pieces in the second leg are Chakir Makhmadulin, a divisive defensive prospect who was a first-round draft pick in 2020, a first-round pick (most likely in 2023) and a second round pick who could become a first (most likely in 2024). Forward Fabian Zetterlund and defender Nikita Okhotek are two young players who could play for San Jose right away.

Veteran striker Andreas Johnson will also join the Sharks squad. He’s in a deal to make the salary cap work in New Jersey. Johnsonsson has been sent to the AHL for most of this season, and is an unrestricted free agent this summer.

Greer hinted at other offers that were more focused on draft picks. Frank Serravalle from the Daily Faceoff mentioned The Sharks rejected offers from two other teams. One included first, second, and high probability. The other was a first, and more recently a first rounder and expected mid-range.

“I think that speeds up the process,” Greer said. “There were some scenarios out there where I could have taken all the shots again. We think the players we’ve got back are moving far enough along the development path that they can help us soon.

“It’s not easy to let go of someone like Timo, but the assets we got in this deal push things forward.”

The immediate reaction to the trade wasn’t particularly positive, either from fans or the media on social media. the athleteCorey Braunman liked San Jose’s comeback more than the initial consensus.

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Having one of the best players in the league in his position is never a recipe for “winning” a deal. Mukhamadullin’s development will be a big part of San Jose’s future and how well sentiment progresses around this deal.

When he was drafted by the Devils, there was a lot of debate about how good Mukhamadullin actually was and what his cap could be. He was one of the most discussed and scrutinized players at the Junior World Championships when he scored heavy minutes for Russia.

“I personally think (Mukhamadullin) is going to be a tremendous player in the NHL,” Devils general manager Tom Fitzgerald said. But that’s the cost of doing business, of giving up a possibility like that. Yes, his name isn’t (Luke) Hughes or (Simon) Nemec from the recent drafts, but he’s still an everyday player in the NHL and we think he’ll be in the top four (man). “

He doesn’t hold the brand name value in February 2023 for players like Dawson Mercer, Alexander Holtz or Simon Nemec with the Devils, Matthew Kneese with the Toronto Maple Leafs or Jimmy Snogerode with the St. Louis Blues – all teams that have reportedly been interested in Meyer at some point. during the operation.

“We really like the player,” Greer said. “You don’t find a lot of 6-4 (defenders) who are mobile and can defend but also add some offense. … I think there’s a lot of positives in this kid.”

Zetterlund, 23, has six goals and 20 points in 45 games with the Devils. He’s a “competitive prick” who had a productive AHL season a year ago and became a regular for New Jersey this year. Okhotiuk, 22, is a first defenseman who loves hitting people and could be a regular in the NHL as a third man who plays penalties.

But this deal and the direction of the franchise are going to swing the sharks over what happens from here. Grier noted several times while meeting with the media after the trade that Meier and Erik Karlsson had an excellent season, but the team’s place in the standings was the final indicator of where they are now. He said they did not want to keep “spinning their wheels”.

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This is a step back, with a plan to move forward at the end. Grier has to make more deals like this, as the immediate reaction is likely to be negative.

The Sharks need more dynamic young players to build around. They need more flexibility in the salary cap going forward.

Greer said he realizes it might be easier to make a deal with Carlson in the off-season, but he would be open to doing so before the March 3 deadline. It will probably be the next big domino to fall.

Between Meier and Brent Burns, the Sharks’ first-year general manager removed two of the club’s five starters from the past four seasons. San Jose is on the verge of missing the Stanley Cup playoffs for the fourth straight season, the longest stretch in franchise history.

This is uncharted territory for San Jose in more ways than one. Never before have sharks made a trade quite like this. They had never exchanged a player of this caliber early in his career. never.

This franchise has spent three decades looking to add players like Meier, not subtract them. Here is a list of the best players San Jose has traded, in order, going back to the time the Sharks acquired Doug Wilson from the Blackhawks in September 1991:

player year

Doug Wilson


Sergey Makarov


Owen Nolan


Ed Balfour


Mike Vernon


Mike Ritchie


John McClain


Vincent Dambus


Timo Celan


Adam Graves


Joe Thornton


Bill Gearen


Brian Campbell


Dan Boyle


Danny Heatley


Brent Burns


Eric Carlson


It’s a long list of famous names. The Sharks also acquired Evgeni Nabokov late in his career and even traded for the rights to Mark Messier, though that was only to exercise a then-CBA loophole involving draft pick compensation.

There are a few current and future Hall of Fame inductees on that list, and a large percentage of the most influential players in franchise history. The list of players the Sharks traded away prior to Sunday doesn’t come close to matching it.

The best players at the time – Igor Larionov, Owen Nolan, Danny Heatley, Patrick Marlowe and Brent Burns – were all over their prelims. Jonathan Chishaw was traded to Heatley. Devin Setoguchi was traded for Burns.

Now Burns and Meyer are gone, and Carlson may be between this week and the start of next season, too. Karlsson, Logan Couture, Thomas Hertel and Mark Eduard Vlasic are all under contract for at least three seasons after this one.

More of them will likely end up elsewhere before the Sharks battle for playoff spots and the Stanley Cup again. The organization needs Mukhamadullin, William Eklund, Thomas Bordeleau, Filip Bystedt, and others to develop into quality NHL players.

They, along with the top five draft picks in the class of 2023 (and maybe 2024 too, at least) could form the foundation for the Sharks’ next great team. It may be several years later.

Grier believes the pool of young players and prospects Meier has acquired will help speed up the process, but that doesn’t mean there won’t be more pain and a lot of losses in the future.

“I’m excited about what we’ve been able to do as employees here,” Greer said. “When you put out players like (Burns and Meyer), it’s always tough. I think we did a good job revamping our pool of leads with last year’s draft and the changes we made.

“I think it pushed us in the right direction, got us on the right track very quickly to turn this thing around.”

(Photo: Cavin Mistry/NHLI via Getty Images)

Inmaculada Fuertes
Inmaculada Fuertes

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