The New Jersey Devils have been busy today, fresh off signing Jesper Bratt to an eight-year extension Sportnet’s Elliotte Friedman is reporting that the club will likely take forward Timo Meier to team elected arbitration. This doesn’t prevent either side from continuing to negotiate a long-term deal, but it does give the Devils some leverage as they head into conversations with the 26-year-old. The team elected arbitration could result in a salary that is 85% of Meier’s 2022-23 salary which came in at $10MM.
Meier came over to the Devils in late February after a blockbuster trade with the San Jose Sharks. He took some time to settle in with New Jersey and put up nine goals and five assists in 21 games with the Devils to finish out the regular season. He would ultimately finish his season with 40 goals and 26 assists in 78 games split between the two teams. In the playoffs Meier struggled mightily posting just two goals and two assists in 11 games and was largely a non-factor in the team’s series win over the New York Rangers going pointless in seven games and suffering a huge hit from Rangers defenseman Jacob Trouba. Meier was much stronger in the team’s second round series against Carolina putting up four points in four games.
The Devils decision to file for arbitration isn’t all that surprising given that they are largely negotiating from a position of weakness as Meier holds the hammer in their contract discussion sitting just a year away from unrestricted free agency. He could simply just go to arbitration and walk away next summer.
As mentioned earlier, with the team elected arbitration Meier could see his salary reduced by as much as 15% depending on how the arbitration process plays out. While that won’t do much on a long-term contract, it could lead to an acceleration in the contract discussions with Meier’s camp which would allow New Jersey some clarity as they head into the draft and free agency in the upcoming weeks. The Devils have a busy summer ahead as they try to build on their first series win in over a decade.