The NHL trade deadline is just over a month away. While we’ve no way of knowing what Kevyn Adams will - or won’t - do, logically, I’d have to think that what the Buffalo Sabres choose to do in the time leading up to the deadline depends a lot on how the Sabres do in that time. Adams is pretty clearly happy with the group he has in his NHL squad right now, and no one can blame him.
As of writing, the Sabres are narrowly out of a wildcard spot. There’s a real chance they could make it to the playoffs this year, and as the saying goes: if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. At the same time, see what happens in the next few weeks, keep your options open, and if the right move comes along, make it happen. While I wouldn’t expect the Sabres to make any jaw-dropping deals, there are a few players I could see Adams utilizing as pieces in a small deal that would be mutually beneficial for both sides.
Timo Meier has been a topic of conversation lately, but he’s going to come with a price tag. Meier is currently earning $6 million this season, and that number is only likely to increase as his contract expires this summer and he becomes an RFA. Per Sharks reporter Sheng Peng, the San Jose Sharks are looking to get three pieces for Meier: a 1st-round draft pick and a top prospect, two “B” prospects, or one good prospect with a young roster player.
With that in mind — you probably don’t make this kind of deal to get Meier as a rental for a potential playoff push; there’s got to be some thought that he would be interested in signing with the Sabres long-term. That, for me, is what it comes down to. The good news is that right now, the Sabres have a lot of key pieces locked up that could actually be intriguing to players like Meier. The culture that’s building in Buffalo is one that could easily attract impending free agents.
So - what deals could we potentially see if the Sabres were seriously interested in Meier?
Trade Proposal #1: Sabres acquire Timo Meier from San Jose in exchange for Ryan Johnson, Victor Olofsson (or Casey Mittelstadt?), a 2023 2nd-round pick and 2nd and 3rd-round picks in 2024
Why it makes sense: Ryan Johnson’s status with the Sabres organization is uncertain, so it seems logical to get something for him. He’s also a California native (played with the Anaheim Jr. Ducks), so maybe there’s some appeal for him there. Victor Olofsson is having a spectacular season, and I’m now at the point where I’d say it’s tough to give him up - but for a player like Meier, maybe that’s a deal you live with. Throw in the draft picks for good measure to sweeten the deal.
Why it doesn’t make sense: Olofsson is 27, so not exactly super young if that’s what the Sharks are looking for, but given his growth this season, it could be a chance worth taking. If the Sharks are stuck on getting a 1st-round pick, this deal won’t work.
Trade Proposal #2: Sabres acquire Timo Meier from San Jose in exchange for a 2023 1st-round pick, Ryan Johnson, Josh Bloom & Olivier Nadeau.
Why it makes sense: Again, I’m including Johnson in this deal, given his uncertain future with the Sabres organization. Bloom and Nadeau could fit into those “B” prospect slots the Sharks are looking for.
Why it doesn’t make sense: I’m not sure if this deal is sweet enough for the Sharks to bite. (Shoot, sorry, that was a bad unintentional play on words.) Maybe this requires a higher-level prospect alongside Johnson, like Isak Rosén or Matt Savoie.
Trade Proposal #3: Sabres acquire Timo Meier from San Jose in exchange for a 2024 1st-round pick, Jack Quinn & Noah Östlund.
Why it makes sense: This combination seems to fit what the Sharks are reportedly looking for. Quinn certainly first the mold of a “young roster player,” filled with potential, and Östlund qualifies as the good prospect.
Why it doesn’t make sense: Quinn seems to be finding his stride in Buffalo, and shipping him out at this point seems like a gamble. Then again, any of these moves would be a gamble - and you need to make a big gamble to get a piece like Timo Meier. It’s also a toss-up for me whether you include Quinn or JJ Peterka in this deal, but at the same time, trading either of them means splitting them up, and having them grow through the ranks together has been good for both.
So... could the Sabres actually land Timo Meier?
Look. I’m not an NHL GM, so maybe none of my aforementioned proposals make sense. But realistically, we already know the Sabres have at the very least reached out to the Sharks about Meier, even if it’s on the surface level. (TSN’s Pierre LeBrun confirmed this, as did The Fourth Period.)
Kevyn Adams is doing his due diligence right now. Maybe he puts together a package to offer, or maybe he doesn’t. Maybe the Sharks say yes - or maybe they don’t. For me, you have to at least try to make this move if you think you can lock him up long-term. A 26-year-old who has 48 points in 51 games this season and who could be on the market doesn’t come along every day.
The other point of contention here is also this: the Sabres don’t really need help on the front line right now. If anything, they need help on the backend, which Meier doesn’t bring. I also generally think Meier’s price tag is high, but I know that compared to some others, it’s relatively reasonable.
If you’re interested, here’s a nifty thread detailing some of Meier’s best qualities that may be of interest.
Meier is an offensive force.— Jason Moser (@PuckLuckJay) January 28, 2023
Volume shooting is his game, and it’s through volume that he’ll score. The puck is on his stick a lot, and his first instinct is to shoot it.
It makes him noticeable in the offensive zone, and draws defenders his way to open up ice for linemates.
What trades would you make for Timo Meier, going along with the Sharks’ reported ask?
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