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Timo Meier Has Been the New Jersey Devils MVP

A shoot-first, power-forward that can score 40 goals was supposed to be the magic elixir for the New Jersey Devils. With a Selke trophy nominee Nico Hischier and a potential Hart trophy winner Jack Hughes down the middle, Timo Meier looked like the missing piece. However, since coming over from San Jose, it hasn’t been smooth sailing. In the 21 games he played with the Devils last year, he managed 14 points. His play picked up in the postseason, but the production didn’t follow. That being said, it was easy to see how his power-forward game could translate well with the Devils.

Then, last summer, Meier signed a massive eight-year contract extension, locking himself into the core of the Devils. With no contract controversy hanging over his head, many Devils fans were excited to see what he could do in a full season. Coming into the season the expectations for the Devils were high, and like most of the season for Meier, fell flat. However, over the last few weeks, there may not be a player more productive than Meier.

Meier Has Been the Devils MVP

In totality, Meier’s stats are just okay. In 60 games he has 45 points. A 61-point pace is hardly much to get excited about for an $8.8 million AAV player. Add in a little context, and Meier’s season looks a little better. Admittedly, he got off to a slow start. Before his first injury, Meier had 13 points in 14 games, including a three-game goal streak before getting hurt. After returning he went nine games pointless, before scoring four goals in three games. Then Meier missed time with his second injury.

Since returning from his second injury on January 17, he’s scored 30 points in 33 games. That’s good enough for a 75-point season across 82 games. But again, more context is needed. Meier had suffered a knee injury the second time around and had reportedly been struggling for some time since coming back. However, Leah Hextall had said on a broadcast on March 7, that Meier started feeling 100% about 10 days prior. Here is the context.

That coincides with the start of the team’s California road trip on February 27. Since then, Meier has recorded 21 points in 15 games. This stretch includes a hat trick, a six-game point streak, and six multi-point games. His on-ice impacts have been off the charts since late February, and despite a lack of team success, Meier has found his game again. From an eye test as well Meier is playing with more aggression. His skating looks like it had last season and he has shown no fear driving to the net. Meier was also the first Devils player since 2016 to record a Gordie Howe hat trick against the New York Islanders recently.

An Important Stretch for Meier

The Devils are playoff-long shots at this point. They’re in the single digits in odds to make the postseason. However, this is unlike most years that the team has missed. Tanking for draft picks is no longer a priority. Winning as much as possible and carrying even a shred of positive momentum into next season should be the goal. Meier specifically needs to keep up the solid production. His game last year was up and down and he never looked fully integrated to the team. This year it’s been the injuries that have halted his play. However, over the past month, Meier has looked as comfortable as he ever has in a Devils sweater, something he and the team have desperately needed. It may not mean much now, but for a player signed for seven more seasons, he needs as much positivity as he can get for the future.

Main Photo Credit: Dennis Schneidler-USA TODAY Sports


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