The day has finally come for a Timo Meier debut with the San Jose Sharks. The ninth overall pick in 2015 is the last of the top 11 to reach the NHL…
The Great Timo Meier Debut has been delayed long enough. The San Jose Sharks finally called him up Thursday, Dec. 15.
He came close to making the Sharks in his first training camp at the age of 18. He then tore up the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League with 51 points in 29 games.
Meier was head-and-shoulders better than the rest at the Prospects Game last July. A scoring-line role was in play by camp. The question was less about making the roster for the 2016-17 NHL season and more about what his role would be.
Unfortunately, then he battled two different illnesses. Mononucleosis knocked him out for October and he was relegated to the AHL when he recovered. Then the flu stopped Meier from playing during injuries to Tommy Wingels and Melker Karlsson.
A Logan Couture injury Wednesday night against the Ottawa Senators seemed to open the door again. However, he is cleared to play according to CSN Bay Area Insider Kevin Kurz Friday. (Mike Hoffman has a disciplinary hearing for the hit over the phone, an option not available for players potentially facing more than five games.)
Still, Meier is ready this time. He is not in the NHL to sit in the press box. Expect him to play.
San Jose head coach Peter DeBoer told The Gackle Report Sunday that Meier will not be the answer to scoring problems. Still, they remain in the bottom third offensively. They are also the only team that has not scored five goals in a 2016-17 NHL season game.
They have only scored three regulation goals on a manned net nine times in 30 games. The absence of Tomas Hertl leaves the Sharks with a void.
The best way to boost scoring is to add a shooter. Kevin Labanc has helped offensively. There is every reason to think Meier will, too.
Certainly San Jose sets Meier up for success. He is used to a scoring-line role and could find room on either of the top two lines.
Kurz also reported that Joonas Donskoi is ready to return. That could squeeze Meier down to the third line, but there are scoring-line wingers that could happen to instead. Expect Micheal Haley and Matt Nieto are both pushed off the fourth line.
Whatever role Meier fills, he would not have been a Shark without missing the 2015 Stanley Cup playoffs. The end of that 10-season run prevented another team from selecting the ninth pick of the richest draft in over a decade.
Just 20 months later, Meier is likely here to stay for the 2016-17 NHL season. Now he has a chance to help earn two more postseason wins and the franchise’s first Stanley Cup. Then the bitter aftertaste of that streak ending will die, too.