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Is it time for Timo Meier?

If Hertl is hurt, the Sharks need to make a call.

NHL: NHL Draft Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

Let’s start with an obvious caveat: If the injury to Tomas Hertl is not severe, the Sharks can make do with a just-in-case call up like Ryan Carpenter. However if Hertl’s injury sidelines him for more than a month, San Jose must make a change to its roster.

Even if the Sharks make a call, whether it be to bring up Timo Meier or someone else, Hertl can not be replaced. Let me say that again: the Sharks will be a much worse team without Hertl on it, whether or not they make a call to the Barracuda. There is no “next man up” because if there was the Sharks would already have him on the team.

Meier has played only eight games with the Barracuda as mono sidelined him for a full month. In those games, Meier has scored three goals to go with three assists and since getting into the swing of things has looked quite good. It took Meier six games to score his first professional goal and now he has one in each of his last three games.

Should the #sjsharks call up @tmeier96?

A photo posted by Fear The Fin (@fear.the.fin) on

Here’s the rub: Pete DeBoer has expressed any call ups will be “merit based,” which sounds fine but hurts Meier’s chances. While he’s had a great three-game stretch, there are certainly players on the Barracuda who have had better seasons in terms of point totals.

Barclay Goodrow leads the team with six goals, while both Rourke Chartier and Daniel O’Regan have five apiece. O’Regan and Nikolay Goldobin lead the team with 11 points each as the Russian has two goals and nine assists.

So there are other candidates for the Sharks. Calling up a center is a possibility, but I’m not convinced San Jose feels Chartier would play better as the fourth line center than Tommy Wingels at this point. As such, I figure a winger is the way the Sharks will look to go.

If that’s the case, Goldobin, Goodrow and Meier have the best chance at joining the big club. Goodrow and Goldobin both have NHL experience and the AHL staff raved about Goldobin’s progression this season. Perhaps he’ll get another chance at the NHL level after getting a brief look a season ago.

This all comes down to Meier’s readiness, though. The Sharks wanted him to start with the big club and if they feel he’s ready to go, I think he gets called up. If not, my guess is we’ll see a guy like Goodrow called up because of his NHL experience.

Or perhaps the Sharks will surprise us all and call up Carpenter while allowing their prospects to get more seasoning in the AHL. Regardless of what the move is, if Hertl is out for an extended period, the Sharks need to make one.