Is Timo Meier the new top New York Rangers trade target

The New York Rangers have long been attached to Patrick Kane as a trade deadline rental but according to one insider, Timo Meier has become their top target.

“I’m told that Timo Meier of the San Jose Sharks has risen to the very top of their list,” Frank Seravalli of Daily Faceoff said.

Meier, 26, is having a great season with 25 goals and 46 points in 45 games. He’s not a pure rental as he’ll be an RFA with arbitration rights and has a qualifying offer of $10 million.

Let’s break this down further.

Timo Meier top Rangers trade candidate?

ny rangers timo meier
Dec 3, 2021; New York, New York, USA; New York Rangers left wing Chris Kreider (20) and San Jose Sharks right wing Timo Meier (28) fight for the puck during the first period at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Danny Wild-USA TODAY Sports

What’s not to like about Timo Meier? He’s big, young, and can score. If he is going to be traded, a lot of teams will be lined up to make that deal since Meier doesn’t have a no-trade clause.

Any team that will be acquiring Meier is going to have to relinquish a first round pick, a top young player, and prospect. So for argument’s sake, let’s say GM Chris Drury is willing to part with one of his two 2023 first-round picks, Alexis Lafreniere, and either Zac Jones or Matthew Robertson.

Great! Probably a done deal.

So are the Rangers really going to qualify Meier at $10 million? Unlikely, which will then make him a UFA. Not smart to give up those assets if you are only viewing Meier as a rental.

In reality, a team trading for Meier is going to want to discuss an extension first. The winger is coming off a contract with an AAV of $6 million and he’s having a career year. This puts him in line for a max term deal with an AAV around $8.5 million. I used Nashville Predators’ winger Filip Forsberg as a comp to come up with this number.

There’s no way the Rangers can afford that given their current salary cap situation and the money they have tied up in veterans with full no move clauses. Let’s not forget, even if Lafreniere were to be traded, you have to pay K’Andre Miller, Filip Chytil, and Vitali Kravtsov this summer.

I also highly doubt the Rangers will be asking Chris Kreider or Jacob Trouba to waive their no-trade clauses this summer, and I’d doubt even more that either would agree. Fans will need to wait until the summer of 2024, when both those full no-move clause become modified no-trade before making any big trade or free agent signing.

What’s the angle on the Meier’s rumor?

While I’m not disregarding the report by Seravalli, it’s hard to see how this fits the Rangers future plans. It’s also possible that this could be a little gamesmanship by the Rangers to get speculation regarding other players out there.

Meier fits that bill, especially since Sharks GM Mike Grier was with the Rangers organization and is friends with Chris Drury.

So while Meier is intriguing, I still believe Patrick Kane is the Rangers top target because he’s a true rental.

Regarding Kane, this speculation dates back to last season, and makes a lot of sense. The team needs to address the right wing position on the second line if they want to win the Cup this summer. Plugging that hole with a high-end short term fix is the best answer, especially if they want to win more than one championship.

A reuniting of Artemi Panarin with Kane is something many would like to see, especially because they have great chemistry together. Immediately, it would give Panarin a player that understands his game well and can read what he’s trying to do on the ice.

Kane also has a full no-move clause which means he can hand select where he goes. Last season, Claude Giroux was in the same position and told the Flyers he’d only go to the Florida Panthers. That handcuffed Philadelphia as they were only able to extract prospect Owen Tippett, a top 10 protected conditional 2024 first-round pick, and a 2023 third-round pick.

If Kane only wants to play on Broadway, the Rangers aren’t going to bid against themselves. However, the Blackhawks will still be able to extract better than what Philly received unless the Rangers can make them believe they have other options they like better.

The trade deadline posturing has begun.

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