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Thursday Thoughts: Timo Edition!

Looking at some issues surrounding the New Jersey Devils on this Thursday, while using Timo Meier’s name for the title alliteration, rather than a number.

NHL: New Jersey Devils at Colorado Avalanche
Timo’s not pictured here, but the trade that brought him here is central to our discussions today.
Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

It’s been a busy week for the New Jersey Devils. With the trade deadline still ahead of us tomorrow, the team has already gone out and added star winger Timo Meier from the San Jose Sharks. Additionally, late last night, they swept the season series from the Colorado Avalanche before even inserting Meier into the lineup. With Timo being the big news of the week, there’s a number of developments surrounding the team that revolve around the trade that brought him to New Jersey in some capacity. Today we look at three such narratives:

1.) The Devils Powerplay is About to Get a Much Needed Boost

While the Devils have been one of the top teams in the NHL almost the entirety of this season, their power play hasn’t exactly been clicking as well as the other areas. With a 20.8% success rate, the Devils sit at just about league median, 17th overall. The team has scored 36 power play goals this season; not one player has reached double digit power play goals on the team. While the power play didn’t have nearly as many hiccups this season as it did last (and many before last), I wouldn’t go so far to say it has been a strength for this group either.

Enter newly acquired Timo Meier.

Meier during his tenure on a Sharks team in transition, contributed 13 of the team’s 30 power play tallies at the time of him being traded to New Jersey. Meier will fill the roll of sniper on the power play, the spot that Devils fans envisioned Alex Holtz filling prior to the start of this season. With another dangerous scorer on the Devils power play, maybe they don’t rocket up the stat sheet in terms of regular season power play success rate, but it certainly makes them a more dangerous team for the playoffs.

2. Dawson Mercer Setting Records.

One player that many were happy to see was not included in the package sent to the Sharks for Meier is sophomore center Dawson Mercer. Mercer, who was already viewed as an important piece of the team’s future, is now starting to etch himself into Devils history. He started on the night the team honored the 2003 cup team by surpassing Scott Gomez for most consecutive games played to start a career with the Devils. Now, last night against Colorado, he set a Devils’ record for most consecutive games with a goal, currently at seven.

Again, the importance of Mercer was known, but his ability to contribute while staying healthy and also still playing a 200 foot game speaks to his intelligence as a hockey player. While some players take a few seasons (or longer even) to blossom at the NHL level, we are watching Mercer grow into a legitimate Top 6 NHL forward right in front of our eyes. Also a shoutout to GM Tom Fitzgerald here for adding Meier to the Top 6 without having to part with the versatile Mercer.

3. Less Question on D Going Forward

In terms of the trade again, the Devils did subtract a couple of defenders from the organization in Shakir Mukhamadullin and Nikita Okhotyuk. Though there will still be some questions regarding the back end for the team next season (especially if both Ryan Graves and Damon Severson leave in free agency), there are some things that have gotten cleared. Obviously, we already knew the Devils perceived value of both Luke Hughes and Simon Nemec, hence why neither of them went the other way in the trade. Additionally, the Devils have now shown their valuing of Kevin Bahl over Okhotyuk. With both of them needing waivers to go down to the AHL next season, and with how Bahl has played recently for the team, even if only maxes out as a third pair defender, it made Okhotyuk expendable.

The same can be said of Mukhamadullin; with Bahl looking to be a factor in the future, as well as Jonas Siegenthaler and a spot potentially for Luke Hughes to seize, there just wasn’t any room left on the left side for the former first round choice. While we as fans (and probably some of those in position of power among the team as well) looked at the prospects the team had accrued and tried to figure out how they all fit with what the Devils already had in the lineup. With a few pieces departing, the more immediate future now seems clearer, even if there are some other prospects on the way who could eventually make their case for some NHL time. That, however, is another article for another time.

Your Take

What are your thoughts on these topics surrounding Jersey’s Team currently; do you think the power play is going to break out with Meier in the fold? Are you impressed with the records Dawson Mercer is setting? Are you more impressed that Fitzgerald did not have to give him up in a trade? What’s your outlook on the defense situation going forward? Leave any and all thoughts below and thanks as always for reading!