In this edition of The Journey, we look at the fantasy potential of San Jose Sharks forward prospect Timo Meier.
Hailing from the small town of Herisau, Timo Meier is the latest in the line of Swiss players making waves on their way to playing in National Hockey League. After starring for local teams as a young player, Meier developed his talents in Switzerland for Elite Jr. A team Rapperswil before making the move to North America to continue his career. Selected with the 12th overall pick in the CHL Import Draft by the Halifax Mooseheads, Meier made the jump across the pond to play in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League in 2013.
In his first season in the QMJHL, Meier scored a modest 34 points in 66 games. While slowly finding his footing for the Mooseheads and adjusting to his new country and lifestyle, the young winger was watching and learning from players like Jonathan Drouin and Nikolaj Ehlers. Heading into his second season in with Halifax, Meier was poised to breakout, playing alongside the players that he was learning for and playing behind as a rookie. His 90 points in 61 games were good for second on his team and top-15 in the QMJHL, putting the Swiss winger firmly on the board of the first round of the 2015 NHL Entry draft.
Following his breakout season in 2014-15, Meier was selected with the ninth overall pick by the San Jose Sharks. As an older prospect, he is a player whom the Sharks felt was more NHL ready than other players that may have had to spend more time in juniors or the minors to develop. The winger is a great fit as a secondary scoring threat and shift disturber on a team that does not need him to be a top-line player immediately. San Jose has an organizational structure that mixes veterans with prospects, allowing young players to develop to their full potential.
Meier was named as the captain of the Halifax Mooseheads for the 2015-16 season. After the departure of top end prospect Ehlers to the NHL, it has been up to Meier to pick up the slack in both offensive and leadership roles. Through 19 games, Meier has posted 25 points and is averaging close to six shots per game. Many thought that playing without elite prospects would severely hurt his production, but he has proved that to be untrue to this point in the season. Meier will showcase his talents at the World Junior Championship for his native Switzerland for the second season in a row, and should feature as the team’s most important player if they are to improve their finishing position from last season.
From a scouting perspective, Meier is a modern-day NHL power-forward. He utilizes his straight-line speed in order to beat defenders one-on-one, and open up space for his lethal snap shot. He is not afraid to play physically and has shown the willingness and ability to both forecheck and backcheck at a high level. Meier is extremely proficient in close offensively, both at even strength and on the power play. He is able to find small pockets of space in front of the net, pouncing on rebounds and creating havoc for goaltenders. His ceiling is a player who can score 30-40 goals while playing a 200-foot physical game similar to Max Pacioretty and Joe Pavelski.
Fantasy Potential: NHL and fantasy owners alike salivate at the multi-category potential of Meier in the NHL. As a power-forward, the young wingers’ game is geared towards playing the game with purpose and physicality. He goes to the dirty areas in the offensive zone and is often rewarded by scoring many goals in close. Likely a net-front player on the Sharks power-play in the future, Meier’s skill set should mesh well with San Jose’s style of play. Upgrade to Meier in leagues that track hits in addition to points.
Dobber Prospect Rank: 83rd ranked offensive prospect in DobberHockey’s Top 215
Fantasy Outlook: B+
Pros: Shot, Strength, Net-Front Presence, Consistency, Puck possession
Cons: Skating improvement
Anticipated NHL Arrival: Meier was given a look in Sharks camp prior to the 2015-16 season, but was sent back to the QMJHL to dominate junior and continue to grow. He could get an NHL look as early as the 2016-17 season because his style of play should transition easily.
Give Kevin a follow @kleblanchockey for NHL prospect talk and happenings.
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