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REPORT: Meier Wants $9 Million a Year?

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Credit: Hockey Shots/Dean Tait

Does Timo Meier want to join the $9 million dollar club?

That’s what Pierre LeBrun of The Athletic said about the San Jose Sharks star on Thursday. Otherwise, the pending RFA is due a $10 million dollar qualifying offer.

“If the qualifying offer is scaring teams, know that he won’t come much cheaper on an extension,” the insider wrote. “I think the ask on a new contract starts with at least a nine.”

The 26-year-winger is likely worth it: Since the beginning of last season, Meier is 14th in the NHL with 63 goals and tied for the league lead with 549 shots.

Meier is apparently trying to join a select group of, according to Puckpedia, 22 forwards who have a cap hit of $9 million or more. The wingers on this list include Artemi Panarin, Mitch Marner, Patrick Kane, Johnny Gaudreau, Mark Stone, Alex Ovechkin, Nikita Kucherov, Matthew Tkachuk, Mikko Rantanen, Kirill Kaprizov, and Jeff Skinner.

Tkachuk is the most recent member of this group – he signed an eight-year, $76 million dollar contract ($9.5 million AAV) in Jul. 2022 – and all said, is a reasonable comp. Like Meier, Tkachuk was a pending RFA before his big payday – though he is younger (24) and is generally considered the better of the two elite wingers.

So who’s picking up the tab on Meier?

The prevailing thought, at the moment, is that it won’t be the San Jose Sharks. LeBrun, for example, believes that GM Mike Grier will eventually trade Meier. For what it’s worth, I do too.

Right now though, Meier is with the Sharks. His agent, Claude Lemieux, did not close the door on Meier’s return recently, telling San Jose Hockey Now, “Both options are still very real, getting traded or signing.”

Lemieux Doesn’t Close Door on Meier Returning to Sharks

So how would Meier’s new contract, let’s say for eight years, $72 million, fit into the San Jose Sharks’ salary structure next season?

Here’s what San Jose has on the books next year:

FORWARDS2023-24
Meier, Timo$9,000,000
Hertl, Tomas$8,137,500
Couture, Logan$8,000,000
Labanc, Kevin$4,725,000
Kunin, Luke$2,750,000
Lindblom, Oskar$2,500,000
Barabanov, Alexander$2,500,000
Sturm, Nico$2,000,000
Lorentz, Steven$1,050,000
TOTAL$40,662,500
DEFENSE2023-24
Karlsson. Erik$11,500,000
Vlasic, Marc-Édouard$7,000,000
Ferraro, Mario$3,250,000
Simek, Radim$2,250,000
Benning, Matthew$1,250,000
MacDonald, Jacob$762,500
Megna, Jaycob$762,500
TOTAL$26,775,000
GOALIES2023-24
Kähkönen, Kaapo$2,750,000
TOTAL$2,750,000
RETAINED2023-24
Burns, Brent$2,720,000
TOTAL$2,720,000
BUYOUT2023-24
Jones, Martin$2,916,667
Balcers, Rūdolfs$308,334
TOTAL$3,225,001
2023-24 TOTAL$76,132,501

That looks like about $7 million dollars left for four more forwards and a goalie, which isn’t a lot. So the Sharks will likely have to make other drastic moves to fit Meier’s new contract in. It’s doable though.

“It’d be great if we didn’t [have to worry about the salary cap],” Grier said recently, “but we do, and there’s only so much money to go around.”

Grier Willing to Trade Karlsson & Meier, but Also Happy to Keep Them

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