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Blockbuster Timo Meier trade: A look at 4 winners and losers

The Eastern Conference occupies the top six spots in the NHL league-wide standings, and the New Jersey Devils have the third-best record with 83 points. Evidently, the team who last tasted success in 2003 and has been spinning its tires in a rebuild for the last decade is now a legitimate Stanley Cup contender after acquiring 31-goal scorer Timo Meier from the San Jose Sharks. 

The Devils will finish with their best record since 2017-18, thanks to young players like Jack Hughes, Jesper Bratt, and Nico Hischier playing at superstar levels. Right now, Hughes (36 goals, 74 points) ranks in the top ten among his peers and will now get a chance to create some magic with Meier. 

The native of Herisau, Switzerland, joins the Devils’ offensive attack with 31 goals and 52 points in 57 games this year. As one of the premier players available at the deadline, he has 154 career goals with 162 assists for 316 points in 451 games. 

Here is the full scope of the trade for those still waiting to discover the Sharks’ haul.

Devils AcquireSharks Acquire
Timo Meier (RW)Shakir Mukhamadullin (D)
Timur Ibragimov (LW)Nikita Okhotiuk (D)
Scott Harrington (D)Andreas Johnsson (LW)
Santeri Hatakka (D)Fabian Zetterlund (LW)
Zachary Emond (G)First-Round Pick 2023 (conditional)
Fifth-Round Pick 2024Second-Round Pick 2024 (conditional)
Seventh-Round Pick 2024

As more Eastern Conference teams continue to acquire superstars from their Western rivals, it’s time to evaluate another blockbuster hockey trade.

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Winner: 2022-23 New Jersey Devils lineup, organization, and fan base

NHL: Vancouver Canucks at New Jersey Devils
Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports

Historically, the Devils were one of the league’s elite teams from 1994-2010, winning three Stanley Cups with legends like Martin Brodeur, Scott Stevens, and Scott Neidermeyer wearing the red and black. Since their last run to the Final in 2012, the team has been mediocre and building a foundation for the next generation through the draft. 

After securing a new arena (2007) and developing their prospects (Hughes, Bratt, etc.), the organization’s patience is finally paying off. Consequently, the Devils were already a threat to challenge the Carolina Hurricanes for the top spot in the Metropolitan Division. However, after adding someone of Meier’s talent to the lineup, the team is going all-in for another ring. 

Of course, many will wonder if this deal was worth it since Meier will be an unrestricted free agent this summer. However, as so many other teams in the Eastern Conference have already shown, this is the year the contenders are gearing up for one of the most exciting playoff runs ever. 

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Winner: First-year GM Mike Grier makes the most of Meier trade

NHL: New Jersey Devils at Toronto Maple Leafs
Tom Szczerbowski-USA TODAY Sports

For 19 years, Doug Wilson served as general manager of the Sharks. Therefore, after stepping down in early 2022, former player-turned-executive Mike Grier took his first significant NHL management role in San Jose. Additionally, one of his most pressing issues was to sign Meier to another extension and build a team around him or move his expiring contract at the deadline to jump-start a rebuild. 

Ultimately, as the Sharks fell out of contention early in 2022-23, Grier had two choices, keep Meier in the lineup or risk losing him in the summer for nothing. Although the first one would have been a bold move, Grier’s best option was to get whatever he could for his superstar player, even on a contending team. 

Of course, Meier could always return to San Jose in the offseason, yet today’s transaction was Grier’s first significant move as an executive. Collecting draft picks, prospects, and NHL regulars will go a long way toward constructing the Sharks’ future.

Related: NHL trade rumors: Latest buzz for 2023 trade deadline

Winner: Timo Meier goes from a rebuilding team to a Stanley Cup contender

NHL: San Jose Sharks at Vegas Golden Knights
Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports

Meier made his NHL debut during the 2016-17 season, months after the Sharks lost their only appearance in the Stanley Cup Final. Despite collecting six points in his first 34 games, he found his footing the following campaigns with 21 and 30 goals, leading to a new contract valued at $24 million. 

Unfortunately, since signing his name to the extension, the Sharks have not qualified for the playoffs, and Meier has yet to skate in the postseason contest since the 2018-19 Western Conference Final. Now, with the franchise far away from contending and free agency looming, he’s gone out and collected his third 30-goal season on a team that ranks 24th overall with a combined 179 goals. 

Although the Devils have not discussed a contract extension at the time of the deal, Meier has set himself up to play with a contender. Whether he stays in New Jersey this summer or explores the open market in July, today, Meier will seek his best options to find success after not breaking through during his tenure with the Sharks. 

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Loser: Long trade announcement delay leaves hockey community in limbo

Anyone who opened their social media in the morning was probably shocked to read the insiders who reported Meier was now a member of the Devils. Unfortunately, the official deal was not announced for almost six hours, leaving many fans fuming at the lack of available information. 

In a generation when people’s attention spans and expectations last milliseconds, many were upset that there was news to report and that no one had answers. Even though more significant trades have occurred in league history, the Meier trade announcement took longer than expected and caused an unnecessary uproar. 

Although transactions of this magnitude are complicated and involve many moving parts, the long delay turned into a circus on social media. Hopefully, future deals will avoid the drama that came with this trade since it may always be associated with an unprecedented delay. 

Related: Five bold NHL trade deadline predictions ahead of March 3

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