The future of Erik Karlsson with the San Jose Sharks has become a frequent topic of conjecture among NHL pundits in recent weeks. However, teammate Timo Meier is garnering his share of attention in the rumor mill.
Meier becomes a restricted free agent on July 1 with arbitration rights. The 26-year-old winger will also be a year away from unrestricted free-agent eligibility.
The average annual value of his current contract is $6 million, but Cap Friendly indicates he's earning $10 million in actual salary. That's what it'll cost the Sharks to qualify his rights unless the two sides reach an agreement on a new contract before July 1.
Having reached 76 points in 2021-22, Meier is on a similar pace this season with 47 points. He's due for a significant pay raise.
Meier's RFA status means the Sharks don't have to trade Meier by the March 3 deadline. If they don't get suitable offers by then, they try again in the off-season if the two sides fail to hammer out a new contract.
Sharks GM Mike Grier could be willing to entertain offers for Meier. On Saturday, Sportsnet's Elliotte Friedman thinks the Sharks will allow interested clubs to speak with Meier's agent about a contract extension.
One of those suitors could be the New York Rangers. According to Daily Faceoff's Frank Seravalli, Meier has risen to the top of their trade target list.
The Winnipeg Sun's Scott Billeck felt Meier could be a dream acquisition for the Jets. He considers the winger a perfect replacement for the aging Blake Wheeler, who has a year remaining on his contract.
Billeck acknowledged the Sharks' asking price and Meier's qualifying offer are significant hurdles for the Jets. That will also apply to other suitors.