Another potential partner for general manager Mike Grier and the San Jose Sharks in connection with a Timo Meier trade was eliminated last week.
The Toronto Maple Leafs filled what they felt was a void in their forward line by acquiring St. Louis’ Ryan O’Reilly and Noel Acciari in a three-team trade that saw the Leafs send their first-round pick of 2023.
The Leafs were reportedly wary of the asking price for Meier — presumably at least a 2023 first-round pick, plus a top contender, plus anything else that gets a deal across the finish line if multiple bidders are involved. Instead, Toronto GM Kyle Dubas retired with four draft picks, including his 2023 third-round pick, a 2024 second-rounder, and two players currently in the AHL — one with an advantage.
The New York Rangers were also reportedly interested in Meier and also thought the price tag was too high. The Rangers went ahead and bought striker Vladimir Tarasenko from the Blues for a conditional first round pick this year, a conditional fourth round pick next year and two players including winger Sammy Blais.
And that’s okay.
Just because two would-be buyers on Meier have found other ways to meet their needs doesn’t mean Grier should start thinking about lowering his demand for Meier, who has an upper body injury and is deemed doubtful to play on Monday when the Sharks are the host. cracking seattle. Sharks David Quinn told reporters that Meier, who did not practice on Sunday, is day to day.
The March 3 trading deadline is now less than two weeks away and assuming Meier feels better soon, finding the right return for the power forward is too critical to the Sharks’ future success, especially since they have only a limited have a number of assets. play.
Looking back at the Brent Burns trade last July, the Sharks probably didn’t get enough back from the Carolina Hurricanes.
Steven Lorentz remains a reliable fourth-line center and penalty shooter, and Eetu Makiniemi could evolve into a full-time NHL goaltender. Maybe. Perhaps the 2023 conditional third round the Sharks acquired could be used for a player who could contribute later, or used as capital to move up the draft or acquire another player.
But Burns, who turns 38 on March 9, is a good fit for the Hurricanes. He leads all Carolina skaters on ice in time, remains a top-alty killer and is about a 60-point season on target. All this for $5.28 million this season and the next two, with the Sharks keeping 34 percent of the average annual value of the Burns deal.
That trade – from the Sharks perspective – would look a little better if another Hurricanes prospect was involved.
But what’s done is done, and Meier, with 31 goals and 52 points in 56 games, now stands as the Sharks’ most valuable, marketable asset.
The two main suitors are said to be New Jersey and Carolina. Meier, a pending restricted free agent, is due a $10 million qualifying offer if he and the Sharks or another cannot agree on a long-term contract. As of last week, the Sharks had not yet given permission for other teams to begin negotiating a long-term pact.
According to Daily Faceoff’s Frank Seravalli, Carolina would be fine to go through with a Meier deal even without an extension. However, according to ESPN, New Jersey would not complete a transaction for Meier without prior contract discussions.
The Sharks also have the option of holding Meier past the trade deadline if they don’t get an offer they love.
But whether Meier goes to New Jersey, Carolina or elsewhere, Grier needs to stay close to his original price when he trades if he wants to help change the organization in two or three years. After all, the Sharks go into Monday afternoon’s game with the Kraken at SAP Center with a 17-29-11 record, the fourth worst in the NHL.
We’ll see what the next two weeks bring, but the Sharks can’t afford to look back at a potential Meier trade and wonder if they won enough of a prize – even if it turned out to be too much for some other NHL teams.
REIMER STARTS: Quinn told reporters on Sunday that goaltender James Reimer will start against the Kraken. Reimer has not played since January 27, prior to the NHL all-star break. For the past week, Reimer has been “confused,” Quinn said. Reimer, a UFA pending, was 1-3-3 in seven games in January with an .890 save percentage.