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Meier on Different Devils’ Role, Their Fanbase, What He Learned From His Sharks’ Growing Pains



Credit: AP Photo/Noah K. Murray

Timo Meier wanted to stay with the San Jose Sharks.

The Swiss winger, selected by the Sharks with the ninth-overall pick of the 2015 Draft, cemented his stardom in his last two years in teal, scoring 66 goals and 128 points in just 134 games.

But Meier, 27, was also a pending RFA last year, in line for a massive eight-year extension that didn’t make sense for the rebuilding Sharks.

The writing was on the wall, as Meier and the Sharks approached last March’s Trade Deadline.

“I think it was kind of getting closer to the [Trade Deadline] and when you realize there’s maybe more rumors or your agent starts talking to you about potential scenarios,” he said today.

The Mercury News confirmed in July that the Sharks never made an offer to Meier.

On Feb. 26 last year, the San Jose Sharks traded Meier to the New Jersey Devils in a massive 13-piece deal.

Over the summer, Meier signed an eight-year, $70.4 million extension with the Devils.

The Devils are in town tonight, Meier’s first game against the San Jose Sharks since the trade.

Meier and New Jersey, however, have struggled, at least compared to their Cup-contending aspirations.

Meier, in more of a secondary role with the Devils – he’s averaging just 16:39 a night, a far cry from his position-leading 19:59 with the Sharks last season – has just 11 goals and 24 points in 45 injury-hampered games.

“It’s maybe a little different role on this team than I’ve had on the Sharks. It’s definitely a little bit of an adjustment there,” he explained. “Different teammates. I was playing with some of the same guys for such a long time and kind of knew where they were at all times. You got that chemistry.

“I think it’s just about building that and trying to find your game and maybe [in] a different role. But it comes down to just trying to go out there and help your team win in whatever way you can.”

Meier didn’t make a strong first impression after his first big contract either. In 2019-20, coming off a breakout 30-goal campaign, Meier signed a four-year, $24 million agreement with San Jose. Expected to help lead the Joe Pavelski-less Sharks back to the playoffs, Meier instead stumbled over the next two seasons, scoring just 34 goals and 80 points in 124 contests.

What did Meier learn from those higher expectations, that he can apply now to the Devils?

“I think just staying positive,” he said. “Sometimes, it can be frustrating. You want to score a lot of goals, you want to create, play, and be out there. Sometimes, maybe the puck doesn’t bounce your way, unfortunate injuries too this year.”

Can Meier get going and help the Devils go on a run? New Jersey is seven points out of the last wild card berth in the Eastern Conference.

“As a group, you gotta stick together and go out there and perform and play well,” he said. “We’re in a tight spot, there’s pressure, but we as a group, we want to play for the guy next to each other.”

Sticking together is all the more important in a market like New Jersey, with passionate fans that have famously oscillated from “Fire Lindy” to “Sorry Lindy” back to “Fire Lindy” chants – in reference to beleaguered Devils head coach Lindy Ruff – over the last two years. That’s something that Meier certainly never heard in San Jose, through four playoff-less seasons and counting.

“Like I said, this is kind of new to me. We got great fans in Jersey and San Jose,” he said, before laughing. “The passion is there by both fan bases, maybe some fans express a little different than others. But that’s part of our business and you got to handle those situations.”

It took Meier some time to live up to expectations with the San Jose Sharks, but he got there. The Devils – and their fans – can only hope that history repeats itself.

“I’ve always been a guy, I have high expectations for myself,” Meier said.

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