Editor's note: This article is part of an ongoing series in which Sharks insider Kevin Kurz will highlight a different Sharks player every weekday leading up to the start of training camp.
Name/Position: Timo Meier, F
Age: 19 (turns 20 on Oct. 8)
Salary cap hit: $894,166, signed through 2018-19
2015-16 year in review: After he was chosen ninth overall by the Sharks in the 2015 draft, Timo Meier returned to juniors and finished tied for 11th in the league in scoring with 87 points (34g, 53a) in 52 games. He was traded midseason from Halifax to Rouyn-Noranda, and posted 23 points (11g, 12a) in 18 playoff games for the Huskies, who won the QMJHL but lost to London in the championship game of the Memorial Cup.
Meier also competed in the World Juniors for Switzerland, and in six games as its captain he collected five points (2g, 3a).
2016-17 outlook: Why are we including Meier in this year’s player outlook schedule? My guess is he makes the team, and he could get a look on the top line with Joe Thornton and Joe Pavelski in camp (if the World Cup permits), while Tomas Hertl sees more time at center. Just like Hertl, he’s got size (six-foot-one, 212 pounds) along with a high skill level, so he could be the perfect replacement for Hertl on that left side without much drop off. He may be more physical than Hertl, too, as we saw in a few intra-squad scrimmages in last year’s camp. At one point Meier hammered Patrick Marleau along the wall, and Marleau seemed none-too-pleased about it.
Rewinding to last September, Meier was the closest prospect to making the team out of training camp, and that was before he went on to have a fantastic season in juniors. At the time he was reassigned, Pete DeBoer said: “It’s a really hard to find a package of a guy that plays with that type of power, that type of body, and also has a high skill level. ... He was a lot closer than people might know.”
Logic dictates he’s even closer now, after another year of seasoning and growing into his big body. He even scored a hat trick in the mid-summer prospect scrimmage, looking like a man amongst boys. If Meier doesn’t make the Sharks out of camp, he’s eligible to start the season with the Barracuda, but I’d put my money on him playing against the Kings on Oct. 12.