Move the “Timo Meier call-up signal” from “soonish” to “pretty damn soon.” I base that on two things: 1) Doug Wilson’s comments to Nick Kypreos and 2) the tenor of the comments surrounding Meier in the Fear the Fin mentions and on Facebook.
People have done enough research now to get the gist of Meier’s game. They know his strengths, and many have keyed in on a particular weakness: penalties. It’s true, Meier has 22 penalty minutes in 14 AHL games — not a ratio that will work at the NHL level. I can’t speak for all of the penalties, but reports are that most have been of the “not good” variety.
Looking over his history suggests this isn’t exactly new. His penalties in minutes have always sat close to his number of games played, but Meier spent a lot of time in the penalty box to start the season. It’s enough of a problem that Wilson sort-of-kind-of-mentioned it in the post I linked above.
Here’s the good news: Meier has (so far) cleaned up his act. He hasn’t taken a penalty in his past six games; which, while a small sample size, is only two games smaller than the eight games it took him to accrue 22 freaking penalty minutes. Check out this chart to see how his penalty minutes per game have dropped. Data from theahl.com.
Meier has it down to 1.57 PIM per game; that’s still too high, but it’s a far sight better than it was six games ago. His 22 penalty minutes are 15th in the AHL amongst rookies (obviously it’s nowhere close to AHL veterans who spent five minutes in the box every night) and is second only to Alex Gallant on the Barracuda. Gallant managed to get 27 PIM in four games, which is actually pretty impressive.
As with any young player, it’s a work in progress. This is an area Meier needs to work on, but it’s certainly not a reason to keep him the AHL for long. The Sharks can use his scoring now if they think he’s ready to play in the NHL. What makes me so confident? They played Tommy Wingels and Micheal Haley last night. With all due respect to both of those players, what we’ve seen from them has absolutely given someone like Meier an opportunity to get into the lineup.
If the Sharks don’t think Meier is ready, fair enough; but I doubt his early season penalty trouble will be what keeps him with the Barracuda. Either way, I suspect he’ll be with the Sharks before too much longer.