- Emily Kaplan is ESPN’s national NHL reporter.
The New Jersey Devils have acquired Timo Meier from the San Jose Sharks, a source confirmed to ESPN on Sunday.
Meier will be a restricted free agent this offseason, with a $10 million qualifying offer this summer. According to a source, the trade to New Jersey does not include an extension, as the Devils plan to use Meier as a “rental” and then explore the possibility of a long-term deal later.
Meier has 31 goals and 52 points on a rebuilding club that was playing out the string. He was held out of San Jose’s practice by coach David Quinn on Feb. 19 because of an upper-body injury and has not played since.
The Devils, who have made the playoffs just once since 2012 and underwent a rebuild in recent years, are a year ahead of schedule, general manager Tom Fitzgerald told ESPN last month. With 83 points in 59 games, the Devils entered Sunday in second place in the Metropolitan Division, trailing the Carolina Hurricanes.
According to sources, the Hurricanes and Vegas Golden Knights were the finalists in the talks for Meier. Those teams were not given permission to speak with Meier’s agent, Claude Lemieux, about a potential extension, a source told ESPN.
Acquiring a rental player is against Fitzgerald’s typical philosophy of building his teams over the summer.
Meier was one of the biggest names available ahead of the March 3 trade deadline because of his age (26) and the team control San Jose could sell to potential suitors.
“Everyone is talking to San Jose about Timo Meier,” one rival Eastern Conference front office executive said during the All-Star break. “Everyone is monitoring it.”
The All-Star forward was the No. 9 overall pick in the 2015 NHL draft. In seven seasons with the Sharks, he topped 20 goals five times and 30 goals three times.
A native of St. Gallen, Switzerland, Meier provides a mix of size and speed; his 6-foot-1, 220-pound frame is often found in front of the net, but he also has the ability to pick corners from the faceoff dots and can be a high-end partner to an elite puck-moving center.
Sharks general manager Mike Grier is clearly looking toward the future but was steadfast all season in his notion that a Meier deal could wait until the offseason if the right in-season package didn’t materialize.
News of the trade was first reported by The Athletic.
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