There might be no San Jose Sharks forward who’s more of an X-factor for the team’s success next year than Timo Meier. You feel pretty comfortable guessing what Evander Kane, Tomas Hertl, and Logan Couture will bring. But Meier – does he come back to his 30-goal form from years ago or struggle like he has the last two seasons – could be the difference between the playoffs and the lottery.
Meier talked about not thinking about scoring in his exit interview on Wednesday and another recent availability. Then San Jose Sharks head coach Bob Boughner discussed Meier’s conditioning and his vision for the 24-year-old winger.
Timo Meier, on the challenge of being more relied upon to score in the last two seasons, as opposed to his breakout 2018-19 campaign on a deeper San Jose Sharks squad:
That year, we obviously had a really good team and when the team is playing well and every individual is contributing, it’s obviously different in the stats. But for myself, you want to be the best player you can be for your team and contribute in whatever way you can. Sometimes, you’re not scoring as many goals as you’d like, individually, but the team’s always first. I reflect on the team success and that’s what matters. It’s not the individual stats, the more you can put that aside, the better you’ll play.
Meier, on what he was doing differently in 2018-19:
As a goalscorer, sometimes when things are not going your way, it’s tough. And sometimes, when you’re scoring, you obviously feel good. Those are the moments when you don’t think about scoring. That’s when when they go in.
When you get too caught up with that, I think [that’s] one big reason as a team, we haven’t been able to produce as much as we’d like.
That’s one thing, I gotta find that confidence that comes from working on your game and getting back to that.
Meier, on Boughner’s performance this season:
It’s mostly a new staff. We’ve showed that we can play some good hockey and once we played the system the right way, we started having success. That’s definitely one of the signs.
Bob Boughner, on the one thing that he wants to see from Timo Meier from the jump next year, be it conditioning or engagement:
I never worry about his conditioning. [He] always comes in very good shape, takes care of himself. So that’s not an issue.
The last two seasons, he had a slow start. Last season, a strong finish, after the coaching change in the second half. His game took off a little more. Same thing with this season, I think he’s gotten better as the season’s gone on.
That’s important, figuring out a way [to start faster] — and it’s not because of his conditioning. It’s just about finding his game earlier than he has the last couple years. That’s gonna make a huge difference. One for his confidence, two for our team.
He is a guy that’s 24 years old. He’s scored 30 goals in this league. He has the ability to score 30 again. There’s no doubt about that.
But figuring out his game, that’s what we talked about a lot.
Deciding what kind of NHL’er he’s going to be and consistency. For me, he’s got to be a power forward, he’s got to be on the body, when he doesn’t have the puck, he’s got to be in the piles, when he has a puck, he’s got to hold onto it, not sling it away, take more pucks to the net, protect more pucks, and just be harder to play against. I think that for me is what a power forward is. And he’s got the skill to go along with that.
Boughner, on if Meier agrees with this vision of his game:
Yeah, I think he agrees with that. I think he agrees that he needs to get to that place a lot sooner than he has in the last couple seasons.
There’s a million reasons and excuses that you can use, but at the end of the day, this is him coming back, being one of our better players and being one of our core guys and getting paid appropriately. Now he needs to take ownership of that.
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