San Jose Sharks forward Timo Meier could be one of the most in-demand names on the trade market as we inch closer to the deadline, and potential suitors for his services are starting to become clearer. On TSN’s Insider Trading program, TSN’s Pierre LeBrun revealed that he had interviewed New Jersey Devils GM Tom Fitzgerald and that in the interview Fitzgerald confirmed the Devils’ interest in acquiring a top-six winger.
Ryan Merkley’s trade request has been granted as the Sharks have traded the defenseman to the Avalanche along with winger Matt Nieto in exchange for winger Martin Kaut and defenseman/winger Jacob MacDonald.
Merkley was a first-round pick by San Jose back in 2018 (21st overall) and showed plenty of offensive upside during his junior career in the OHL where he had 269 points in 248 games in four seasons. However, that hasn’t really translated into much offensive success in the minors as he has just two career goals in the minors, neither of which came this season. Merkley made his NHL debut in 2021-22, getting into 39 games with the Sharks but he hasn’t had a chance to suit up at the top level this year which resulted in the trade request. He has 14 assists in 30 games with the Barracuda this season. He’s in the final year of his entry-level contract with a $863K cap hit and will be a restricted free agent this summer.
Nieto, meanwhile, is no stranger to Colorado as he spent parts of four seasons with them between 2016-17 and 2019-20. During that stretch, he was a serviceable provider of depth scoring, notching 34 goals and 47 assists in 251 games. The 30-year-old is producing at a similar clip this season, tallying eight goals and seven assists in 45 games with the Sharks while logging a career-high 15:39 per game. He won’t see that type of ice time in his second go-round with the Avs but with them in need of reliable options in the bottom six, Nieto should still be called upon to play an important depth role. He’s also in the final year of his contract with a $850K cap hit and will be eligible for unrestricted free agency this summer.
Kaut was also a first-round pick in the 2018 draft, going 16th overall to the Avalanche. However, while he impressed in the minors as an 18-year-old and earned an NHL stint at 19, he hasn’t had much success at the top level. So far, he has played in just 47 career NHL contests, 27 of which have come this season where he has just a goal and two assists to his credit while averaging 9:08 per night. Kaut has also played in ten AHL games this season where he has five goals and three helpers and is currently in the minors having been sent down last week. The 23-year-old is also in the final year of his entry-level deal, one that carries an AAV of $863K. He should get an opportunity to see some regular minutes for San Jose down the stretch in the hopes of him developing into a regular in the bottom six down the road.
MacDonald came up as a defenseman but has logged a lot of action on the wing this season with Colorado searching for bottom-six options as they’ve dealt with injuries all year long. The 29-year-old has suited up 33 times so far in 2022-23, picking up a pair of assists along with 29 hits. He has made 74 appearances with the Avs over the last three seasons, comprising the bulk of his NHL action (aside from a two-game stint with Florida in 2018). MacDonald is in the first year of a two-year, two-way contract that pays the minimum salary in the NHL (a $762,500 AAV) and will be an unrestricted free agent in 2024. He’s likely to play a similar depth role with the Sharks, filling in at both positions when necessary.
Cap space is limited for the Avalanche and it’s worth noting that they are adding a little less than $100K on their books with this swap. However, they get a more proven forward in Nieto that should bolster their bottom six and an interesting wild card in Merkley. If he’s able to develop into a regular defender down the road, this will be a nice pickup for GM Chris MacFarland. If it doesn’t pan out, all it will cost them is a couple of depth options so it’s a low-risk move that could carry a fair bit of upside as they look to hold onto a playoff spot in the tight Central Division.
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San Jose Sharks forward Timo Meier is one of the biggest names featuring heavily in trade rumors as of late, and it was only yesterday that news came in that Meier’s camp was being “very realistic” about the possibility of their client being traded. Today, it seems Meier the trade market for Meier could be starting to take shape.
Talented San Jose Sharks forward Timo Meier has been the subject of intense trade rumors in recent weeks, and he could be one of the most sought-after wingers on the trade market over these next few months. The 26-year-old Swiss national has scored 26 goals this season and leads all Sharks forwards with 46 points in 46 games. Meier is a restricted free agent at the end of this season, and is owed a $10MM qualifying offer should the Sharks (or another team) want to keep his RFA rights.
Meier’s agent, former NHLer Claude Lemieux, spoke to Curtis Pashelka of The Mercury News about his client’s situation, saying “we have not discussed a contract extension and we are very realistic of the possibility of Timo getting traded.” Meier’s expensive qualifying offer makes his status on the trade market somewhat complex, as some teams may only be able to afford to acquire him as a one-year rental. But in any case, it seems that the prospect of the Sharks dealing one of their most valuable players is becoming more and more realistic with each passing day.
The Jets find themselves in a situation that not many expected them to be in at this point of the season as they’re battling for first in the Central Division. They also happen to have some cap flexibility unlike several of their competitors so they’re likely to be buyers over the next six weeks. To that end, Scott Billeck of the Winnipeg Sun suggests that Sharks winger Timo Meier could be the right target for Winnipeg. While a $10MM qualifying offer looms large, that can be overcome with a long-term agreement beforehand while it could also offer some insurance with Mark Scheifele, Blake Wheeler, and Connor Hellebuyck (plus potentially Pierre-Luc Dubois) all set to hit the open market in 2024. Winnipeg has all their first-round picks and some young prospects that might be intriguing to San Jose should they decide to move on from the 26-year-old.
Karlsson, through all of the trade rumors and speculation, has never indicated a desire to leave the San Jose Sharks organization, where he has settled down with his family. He holds a no-movement clause and can determine his fate, even if a team does step up with the massive asking price that has been rumored. After a four-point effort on Wednesday, Karlsson leads the league in assists and is on pace for 110 points.
2:25pm: In a separate (but connected) AHL deal, Patrick McGrath is also going to the Griffins. The 29-year-old is signed to a minor league contract and couldn’t be included in the NHL portion of the trade. McGrath is an agitator, with just a handful of points to his name over a long minorleague career.
2:05pm: The San Jose Sharks have made a minor move, sending Jasper Weatherby to the Detroit Red Wings in exchange for Kyle Criscuolo. The trade swaps two players that were in the minor leagues for their respective organizations, with neither one seeing any NHL action this year.
Weatherby, 24, played 50 games for the Sharks last season after signing out of the University of North Dakota and scored 11 points. The 6’4″ center showed a little promise, even if his offense was rather limited. Surprisingly, he hasn’t seen so much as a recall this season, and is struggling in the AHL. Weatherby has just six points in 39 games for the San Jose Barracuda and was trending toward being unqualified in the summer. While there still may be a bit of potential there, his status as a restricted free agent and sudden drop down the depth chart suggested his time with San Jose was nearing an end.
In Detroit, he’ll join a Grand Rapids Griffins team that is struggling to get much of anything going. The team has been outscored by 40 goals this season and has a 14-19-3 record so far. Perhaps he finds a new level in his game and earns a contract in the offseason, but that is no guarantee. Given the fact that Weatherby is arbitration-eligible, many teams would likely be moving on if his performance continues.
Criscuolo, meanwhile, is at the other end of the spectrum. A 30-year-old undersized, undrafted forward, he has spent nearly his entire professional career in the minor leagues. With just 15 NHL appearances, he’s purely an AHL depth piece at this point. Criscuolo is also a free agent at the end of the year, though he’ll be unrestricted, and at least offers a bit more experience for the Barracuda. In 335 AHL contests, he has recorded 187 points and won the Calder Cup in 2017.
Fans waiting for big trade news will have to wait, as neither of these players project to make much of an impact at the NHL level.
- Sharks defenseman Scott Harrington left Wednesday’s game early with an upper-body injury but it appears it won’t keep him out for long. Curtis Pashelka of The Mercury News notes (Twitter link) that the veteran was back at practice on Sunday. Harrington has a goal and five assists in 16 games this season with San Jose, a decent showing after attending training camp on a PTO. He wasn’t in the lineup today against New Jersey but he should be nearing a return to game action.
It has been an incredible first half for Erik Karlsson. The two-time Norris Trophy winner has 56 points through 44 games, and leads the entire league in even-strength scoring. He’s healthy, playing more than 25 minutes a game, and looks a lot more like the player that the San Jose Sharks paid for in 2018.
That cost is what usually comes up in any conversation about Karlsson’s time in San Jose. The Sharks sent Dylan DeMelo, Chris Tierney, Rudolfs Balcers, Joshua Norris and a package of draft picks that ended up being Tim Stutzle, Zack Ostapchuk, and Jamieson Rees. Talk about a haul.
All that and they still needed to sign Karlsson long-term. That ended up looking like an eight-year, $92MM contract that essentially took him out of any further trade talks for the next few years. Not only did he have a full no-move clause, but Karlsson’s $11.5MM cap hit was a conversation-ender – at least when he was struggling with injuries and inconsistency.
But with his performance this season, that may have changed. Rumors have swirled all season about a potential move, ever since general manager Mike Grier admitted that he would listen to any callers. Now, speaking with Corey Masisak of The Athletic, Grier confirms that the Karlsson trade market is real (at least in theory):
There is interest in him. There’s some teams who have reached out about him. I think it’s only natural for teams to kick the tires, and it’s my job to listen to all the offers and see what I think is best for the organization short term and long term.
Any deal would be an incredibly difficult puzzle to sort out, given all the factors involved. Trade protection. High salary. Several years left. Lots to get in the way of talks. Frank Seravalli of Daily Faceoff breaks down the whole situation, including a potential asking price.
Reports indicated the Sharks are looking for three first-round picks, and are only willing to retain 18% of his remaining contract. But Grier threw some cold water on those numbers when speaking with Masisak:
I’m not going to really get into what we’re asking for, but I don’t think that’s totally accurate. Whatever it would be, it would have to be an offer that we feel makes us stronger in the future and gives us the ability to help kind of turn this thing around quicker. It’s got to be something that makes sense for us as an organization.
Given the unprecedented nature of a player like this being dealt at this point in his career (and contract), it’s a mystery what that return could actually look like. Some would argue that just getting out from under the contract itself would be enough to make sense for San Jose, given their current situation.
The Sharks sit 28th in the league, without any real hope to turn things around soon. No matter how well Karlsson is playing, it’s not enough to put them in contention.
Could he help another team reach that goal? It’s going to be a difficult move to make, even if they do get his blessing.
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- Sharks winger Noah Gregor will be a healthy scratch for the eighth straight game tonight and he voiced some frustration to Curtis Pashelka of The Mercury News, feeling that there should be more communication coming from the coaching staff as to what they’re expecting from him. It has been a tough year for the 24-year-old; after putting up 23 points in 63 games last season, he has just two goals in 19 contests in 2022-23 while seeing his ice time drop by nearly three minutes per night. The team has added several depth players up front dating back to the summer and that has created much more of a competition for playing time. Gregor is eligible for a conditioning stint but noted that he hasn’t discussed that option with the team right now, stating that his focus is simply on getting back into the NHL lineup.