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Will Sharks See Tkachuk As Model for Meier Contract…or Trade?

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Credit: AP Photo/Josie Lepe

Could Matthew Tkachuk’s new contract with the Florida Panthers set the standard for Timo Meier’s next contract with the San Jose Sharks?

Curtis Pashelka posited that on Friday, after the Calgary Flames sent pending RFA Tkachuk in a sign-and-trade deal, along with a 2025 fourth-round pick, to the Panthers for Jonathan Huberdeau, MacKenzie Weegar, Cole Schwindt, and a 2025 first-round pick.

By the way, the list of recent 35-goal RFA wingers coming out of a bridge deal and within three-or-less years of unrestricted free agency, like Tkachuk and Meier, isn’t long.

Adrian Kempe just inked a four-year, $21 million agreement ($5.5 million AAV) with the Los Angeles Kings, a potential sweetheart deal, but it’s also a reflection of the fact that the 25-year-old winger doesn’t have a strong scoring track record before this past season.

Patrik Laine just signed a four-year, $34.8 million contract ($8.7 million AAV) with the Columbus Blue Jackets. The 24-year-old is a pure sniper who doesn’t have the power game of a Tkachuk or a Meier.

Both Tkachuk and Meier are elite, game-changing wingers with enviable blends of skill, speed, and power. Both are two-time 30-goal scorers.

Here’s where Tkachuk and Meier diverge.

Meier is a 2015 first-round pick, as opposed to Tkachuk, a 2016 first-rounder, so he’s a year older.

Tkachuk has proven to be more consistent throughout his career: Before his breakout 2021-22 year, he still managed to be a near point-per-game player in the previous three seasons. Before his recent career-high 35-goal, 76-point campaign, Meier had suffered back-to-back down years.

Tkachuk has also hit 40-goal and 100-point milestones, though Meier has never had a playmaker of Johnny Gaudreau’s ilk serving him.

But if Meier flirts with 40 goals and averages a point per game again this coming season, the pending RFA will solidify his place as one of the absolute top wingers in the game. That will put Meier into Tkachuk’s pay grade.

Will the San Jose Sharks ante up or go in another direction?

Here’s another way to look at it if you’re the Sharks: Can Meier duplicate Tkachuk’s return in a trade?

Say Meier repeats his All-Star form again next year – but the Sharks are mired in the cellar – could another team offer San Jose a Tkachuk-like haul?

Let’s keep in mind that Huberdeau and Weegar are both older, pending UFAs – there’s no doubt that Calgary received more cumulative talent back than they sent out in Tkachuk, but Florida got younger and now have that all-important cost certainty.

If you’re the Sharks, if the Panthers offered Huberdeau and Weegar, as talented as they are, for Meier, a 29-year-old center and a 28-year-old defenseman, both a year away from unrestricted free agency, don’t necessarily fit this organization’s timeline.

But anyway – it’s all academic right now. First things first, Meier must prove his 2021-22 campaign was no fluke.

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