The New Jersey Devils have completed what many expected them to do for months as they have made a big addition up front. They have acquired forwards Timo Meier and Timur Ibragimov, defensemen Scott Harrington and Santeri Hatakka, goaltender Zacharie Emond, and Colorado’s 2024 fifth-round pick from the San Jose Sharks. In return, the Sharks receive prospect defensemen Shakir Mukhamadullin and Nikita Okhotyuk, forwards Andreas Johnsson and Fabian Zetterlund, a 2023 first-round pick (top-two protected), a conditional 2024 second-round selection, and a 2024 seventh-round selection.
The conditions on the 2024 selection are as follows:
Should New Jersey reach the 2023 Eastern Conference Finals (and Meier plays in at least 50% of Meier’s Club’s Playoff games in 2023) or the 2024 Eastern Conference Finals, New Jersey will transfer its own first-round pick in 2024 NHL Draft to San Jose (top 10 protected), instead of its own second-round pick in 2024 NHL Draft. If New Jersey’s first-round pick in 2024 NHL Draft is a top 10 selection, New Jersey will have the option to instead transfer its own first-round pick in 2025 NHL Draft to San Jose. Should New Jersey transfer its first-round pick in 2024 NHL Draft per the original condition (top-two above in Condition A), New Jersey will instead transfer its own first-round pick in 2025 NHL Draft should they reach the 2024 Eastern Conference Finals.
At the NHL trade deadline, veteran players on expiring contracts are often dealt to contenders for a package of future assets. Usually, those rentals are nearing or over 30, sometimes even in the twilight of their careers. That’s not the case with Meier, who won’t turn 27 until October and is a legitimate first-line star in the prime of his career.
The big winger already has 31 goals this season through 57 games, after scoring 35 last season, and averages 20 minutes a night for the Sharks. He instantly upgrades the Devils’ attack, making them an even bigger contender in the treacherous Eastern Division playoff race. Whether he plays with Swiss countryman Nico Hischier or superstar center Jack Hughes, Meier always seemed like the perfect fit for a New Jersey team finally ready to push some chips to the middle of the table.
After years of rebuilding, stockpiling prospects and draft picks, the Devils are a dangerous group despite being one of the youngest in the NHL. Meier’s status as a pending restricted free agent only makes him more valuable to an acquiring team like New Jersey, which could legitimately afford to sign him to a long-term extension.
That extension will be pricey, though. The winger is due a $10MM qualifying offer this summer because of how his current contract is structured and he will have plenty of leverage in negotiations. If he desires to test the open market, he could agree to the qualifying offer for a one-year deal, and hit unrestricted free agency in the summer of 2024.
While there were reports for some time that the Devils wouldn’t agree to a deal without an extension in place, it’s still a reasonable bet to grab Meier now and worry about a contract later. The Metropolitan Division has already seen plenty of incoming star power, with Vladimir Tarasenko and Bo Horvat joining the New York Rangers and New York Islanders, respectively, and could see Patrick Kane join the bright lights of Broadway this week. To keep up in the arms race, New Jersey has landed their own difference-making forward—one who could be the best of the bunch, at least right now.
Of their other additions, Harrington gives them an experienced depth defender that has spent most of the season in a depth role with San Jose. He’s on a two-way deal and is an unrestricted free agent this summer. Hatakka got into nine games with the Sharks last season but has missed most of this season due to injury, suiting up just eight times for the AHL’s Barracuda. He has one year left on his entry-level deal. Ibragimov has spent the entire season with ECHL Wichita, picking up 32 points in 52 games and will be a restricted free agent this summer. Emond has played in just four games for the Thunder and will also be a restricted free agent this summer. Ibragimov and Emond’s inclusion are likely just for contract matching purposes to keep both teams compliant with the 50-contract limit.
As for the Sharks, they add some important pieces for the future with the high draft picks along with Mukhamadullin, the 20th pick in 2020. The 21-year-old is having a strong season in the KHL with 25 points in 67 games and is expected to come to North America as soon as Salavat Yulaev’s season comes to an end so it’s possible San Jose will be able to get him into their system late in the season. Okhotyuk has split the season between New Jersey and AHL Utica. He has played in ten contests with the Devils plus 20 more for the Comets and could fill the depth defender role that Harrington is vacating. The 22-year-old has one year left on his entry-level deal.
Zetterlund has been a regular most nights for the Devils and has been a good depth scorer, notching 20 points in 45 games despite averaging less than 13 minutes a night. The 23-year-old should get a bigger opportunity with the Sharks following the move which could boost his value heading into restricted free agency this summer where he’ll be eligible for salary arbitration for the first time. Johnsson’s inclusion is mostly for salary purposes as he’s in the final season of a deal that carries a $3.4MM AAV. That cap hit has kept him in the minors for most of the season where he has 29 points in 36 games with Utica. However, he has 113 points in 248 career NHL contests and could get a shot at regular playing time down the stretch with San Jose to rebuild his value heading into unrestricted free agency for the first time this summer.
Pierre LeBrun of TSN and The Athletic was the first to report that Meier was going to New Jersey. TVA Sports’ Renaud Lavoie was the first to mention San Jose’s 50% retention. Daily Faceoff’s Frank Seravalli first reported Harrington’s inclusion. Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman was the first with Johnsson being in the deal along with Okhotyuk. Shayna Goldman of The Athletic first had Zetterlund’s involvement with the 2023 first-round pick. The Fourth Period’s David Pagnotta was first with Hatakka’s inclusion.
Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.
Yes Yes Yes Yes Yeeeeeeeeees!
So nervous to see what they gave up but so pumped!
Prices are high these days. In a year or two, you might be going “No… No… No…. No!”
So far it looks like a 1st & Zetterlund, more to come
Sad that Z train is going but it doesn’t surprise me one little bit – Grier loves bang bang players and he is one. It really wouldn’t surprise me to see Okhotyuk as another piece going to SJS given his size and style. That alone won’t get the deal done so must be a 1st and maybe another piece going back along with salary ballast.
Ha! and there it is. This trade has Grier’s physical style all over it. So many eyes on Holtz when all Grier wanted was the big bodies all along.
No suprise here. Devils will be a hell of a team to beat now. ;)
That’s gonna be a very too heavy organization contract-wise
Not sure how they fit an extension in with him. Seems like they wouldn’t be able to retain Bratt
They’ve got plenty of pending RFAs and UFAs. If they take the next step and sign Meier to an extension, I expect them to take half a step back in the offseason. An extension for Meier would basically price out Tatar, Woods, Haula. I’m sure they’ll want to extend Bratt, though.
Only one of those i could see us even trying to retain is Tatar, he has chemistry with Hischier and has put up some decent numbers for us this year.
Haula and Wood can find somewhere else to play for all we care
I think I’d take Haula if he signed cheap. He is good at some things and he’s having a terribly snake bitten year on offense. He forechecks, he wins face-offs etc. But for what he brings… maybe $1.5 is all I’d probably invest.
At this point, Wood is worth $1m tops. He’s a 4th line energy player and 100% not worth $3m. Causes as much harm as good with his silly penalties.
Looks like no extension discussions as of today! Sharks might sign him back in summer…
He’s a restricted free agent, not gonna happen
Depending on what they gave up, this looks like a huge win…
He isn’t even 27 yet….
Congrats on the biggest signing to date
What signing? This was a trade without an extension.
Hes RFA, hes getting resigned
Best signing by far to date, make the Devils a serious contender…
But what did they give up?
I meant trade, sorry everyone…
I will await the signing later…
After waiting six weeks or so to see if the Devils would actually get Timo, these two hours of waiting to see who’s going back to San Jose feels like a lifetime. Relieved the reports are confirming no Merc Dawg or Nemec.
It is now being reported that the trade isn’t finalized. There’s an injury to one of the players involved that’s holdingup the trade.
Must be Bernier.
San Jose better have Nemec coming back the other way..Or this is a mistake by Grier…
What a lose to SJ so far!!! Insane! No offence, but Grier just ruined his chance to rebuild the team. Fire that cheater!!!
Grier was a good player when he played for the Sabres. Obviously SJ did not have that many teams willing to trade for Timo. So SJ can possibly get 2 1sts if NJ goes far enough. If that happens SJ could make out well depending on who they draft.
Well, agree… I guess it now really depends on what will be the final results of conditional drafts
NJ just won big time. Didn’t have to give up any top prospects. No Nemec, Mercer, Holtz, L and Hughes
Being a fan of both teams so knowing the prospects involved, my first impression is that Fitz has slightly overpaid as of today. This is essentially 2 x 1sts, another maybe 1st and 2 decent young players for Timo Meier + trash which is pretty massive. Muk is no slouch, I’m glad he is joining the Sharks D pool. A definite 1st and maybe another on top. The Swole Swede Z-Train is no slouch, glad the Sharks have him and Okhotyuk is a capable bottom pair D man… It’s good by Grier. Imagine if NJD gives this up and only gets Meier for 18 months…
It’ll come down to making the conference finals for NJD – if they do and that second rounder becomes a 1st, this is a big win for Grier. On the flip side, if Meier signs a long term extension in the $8m range this will still be a big win for Fitz… Both teams may end up loving this result.
Yeah, down the road this will bite NJ in the ass, but especially if they can sign Meier and Bratt to extensions that aren’t too painful — and it may be that buying out Palat is in their future — the Metro Division might well look as jammed as the Atlantic for the next few years.
The danger I’d see for Devils fans is that New Jersey might wind up looking like Edmonton, with a handful of high priced stars and little depth behind them. Take next year: $36 million in projected cap space … and only 10 NHLers under contract. Fitzy is going to have his work cut out for him.
San Jose just made a huge move that could catapult it to top-3 tankstar… don’t discount how these losers – and it’s a growing group by the week – are all backpedaling to make their lineups worse over the next week.
Even tho there’s no Mercer or nemec, SJ still got more asset that kind of match the value. I agree with DevilShark. Also, considering he wouldn’t have resign with SJ, I think it’s quiet a good haul
Devils need to trade Mercer for Josh Anderson now and they will be unbeatable………….. JK habs fan from Newfoundland can wish tho right?
San Jose apparently went for quantity over quality. Feels like NJ won the sweepstakes big time. They didn’t have to include Hughes, Nemec, Holtz or Mercer. Wow thought SJ would get a better prospect that Makamadullin. Can’t believe he’s the headliner.
NBA trades be like: