With the playoffs just over a week away, the San Jose Sharks' have an established group of players and a relatively consistent lineup. That won't stop the Sharks from taking advantage of the expanded rosters that come with the end of the NHL regular season. San Jose doesn't hold a high number of black aces in their deck — but Timo Meier could make for an interesting decision for general manager Doug Wilson.
The Sharks can call up players from the AHL and junior ranks whose teams seasons have come to a close. With the Barracuda still in the hunt for a playoff spot, San Jose may not have access to much of the roster once the first round begins. The same can be said for Meier, who helped lead the Rouyn-Noranda Huskies to the second round of the QMJHL playoffs with 13 points in four games.
Right. That's not a typo. After a strong training camp, Meier was sent back to juniors (at the time Halifax, he was traded during the season). His strong play before his reassignment suggests he's not far off from making an impact at the NHL level. My guess is Meier will have a good shot to earn a spot with the Sharks next Fall, but if he continues to pile up points in the Q he may get himself an early audition in the Sharks with the playoffs.
It's a long shot and would likely require an injury for Wilson and head coach Pete DeBoer to pull the trigger. From what I can tell, DeBoer is happy with the group he has right now (even if Meier could likely outplay Nick Spaling at this point) and will be hesitant to change. No one is lighting the AHL on fire, though I imagine Nikolay Goldobin and Mirco Mueller will both be added to the expanded rosters.
Meier finished with the fourth-highest points per game in the Q this season (1.67) and the forward piled up 34 goals and 53 assists in 52 games. His goal scoring went up a sizable tick after joining Rouyn-Noranda as Meier scored 11 in 23 games with Halifax and 23 in 29 games with the Huskies.
The biggest hurdle Meier faces is the quality of his current junior team. Rouyn-Noranda entered the playoffs as the No. 1 seed and after absolutely steamrolling Drummondville in the first round (outscored 'em 33-4) it seems like the Huskies can do some damage in the playoffs.
Ryan Carpenter, the leading scorer for the Barracuda, also has a shot at joining the Sharks in the playoffs. He has 50 points in 61 games while Goldobin has just 37 in 55 games. Like I said, things aren't so pretty in the AHL ranks for San Jose at the moment.
In all likelihood the Sharks will roll with the lines that got them into the playoffs, but if the stars align just right Meier holds perhaps the best chance of making an impact with the Sharks in the playoffs.