With Bo Horvat off the trade market and signed by his new New York Islanders team, the trade rumors involving teams like the Boston Bruins will be looking at new targets. There are some names that have been out there for a while like Ryan O’Reilly, Jakob Chychrun and Patrick Kane that make varying degrees of sense for the Black and Gold, but there’s another name that could Boston in a completely different direction.
San Jose Sharks winger Timo Meier is entering an RFA negotiation this offseason where he’s going to get paid in a big way after a career-best 35 goals and 76 points last season, and a season this year where he’s pace to finish around 40 goals and 80 points. Even the stat nerds with the bar graphs and the plot points love them some Timo Meier.
— JFresh (@JFreshHockey) February 6, 2023
Meier is arbitration-eligible as an RFA this summer and will be an unrestricted free agent following next season while already being paid $10 million this season (with a $6 million cap hit) on his current contract.
So it’s going to cost any team a $10 million offer for next season just to simply hold onto his RFA rights with a qualifying offer, and presumably it’s going to cost in that neighborhood to sign the former No. 9 pick in the 2015 NHL Draft to a long term contract. Naturally all of this makes Meier a prime trade target around the NHL right now. He’s big, skilled and a premium top-6 winger that plays mostly on the right side where the Bruins don’t have anybody locked up long term at this moment in time.
So could the Boston Bruins be interested in Meier?
Well, there’s really only one scenario where Meier makes the most sense and that’s if the Boston Bruins get to a point where they decide that David Pastrnak is going to test unrestricted free agency following this season. At this point, the NHL Betting Odds on that happening it don’t seem likely, as all points sign to Pastrnak resigning with the Boston Bruins after pushing them toward a bigger salary with the dominant All-Star season that he’s elevated to this season.
“Obviously I’m a goal scorer and that’s what I’m here for to score goals,” said Pastrnak, who has pushed into the Boston Bruins top-10 franchise list in the goals scored category and is on pace for well over 50 goals and 100 points this season. “I’m happy the puck’s going in and I’m feeling good…I’m just going game by game. Just trying to keep scoring, that’s my job.”
The 26-year-old game-breaker certainly didn’t seem worried about it after pulling off a fun, entertaining Happy Gilmore act during the Breakaway Challenge at the NHL All-Star Skills Showcase.
Just tap it in…
— NHL (@NHL) February 4, 2023
“Obviously I feel fine,” said Pastrnak to reporters. “There’s no rush. In the middle of the season, you’re focusing on hockey, and everything. You don’t really think about the contract situation.
“It’s in the hands with your agent, management and [Bruins general manager Don Sweeney]. I’m just thinking about hockey and playing, honestly, so that’s pretty much all I’ve been doing. J.P. [Barry] and Donnie [Sweeney] talk every day. I actually haven’t talked to JP for a while because of the tough schedule we had, but I’m going to give him a call. I think he’s here, so we’re going to meet up. We’ll see.”
The guess here, as it’s been for a while, is that Pastrnak eventually signs for eight years, $88 million for No. 88 with the Black and Gold.
Clearly there is more that would have to go down as the Bruins would need to move salaried NHL players in the short term to make room for Meier, and that would mean a forward like Charlie Coyle or Jake DeBrusk, or a defenseman like Brandon Carlo or Matt Grzelcyk, would have to be on the way out to make it work under the salary cap.
Clearly it makes sense that teams like the New York Rangers, Buffalo Sabres and New Jersey Devils would instead be interested in Meier if Sharks GM Mike Grier makes him available, per the Daily Faceoff’s Frank Seravalli, but the Black and Gold won’t be a front burner team unless something crazy happens.
Putting Meier on the Boston Bruins wish list might be more wishful thinking than reality, but it’s not going to stop B’s fans from fantasizing about it, right?