Flames First Round Targets 2015: Timo Meier

It’s June, so that means it’s time for another round of our annual Flames first round targets series.

This year, the club sits smack dab in the middle of round 1 with the 15th overall selection. The last time the team had a pick in this area (14th overall), they elected to trade down and pick Mark Jankowski 21st overall. And while we still can’t be certain of Jankowski’s future with the club, the collection of players the team missed due to that decision (Teuvo Teravainen, Cody Ceci, Olli Maata, Scott Laughton, Tomas Hertl, Zemgus Girgensons) suggests it wasn’t the best of maneuvers. 

This time around the club has plenty of second and third round picks, so if anything they will be looking to trade up rather than down. We can safely say, then, that 15 is the latest Calgary’s first round choice will be this time around.   

The first prospect we’re profiling this year is Swiss sniper Timo Meier.

The Scouting Reports

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According to My NHL Draft, Meier falls at 13th overall amongst a consensus ranking of draft eligible players this year, though the buzz is he could easily be a guy who is picked in the top-10. The 6’1″ right winger is one of the heavier forwards available in the first round at 208 pounds and many scouts agree he plays a game that matches his frame. 

Redline Report

for example, notes that Meier is always intense, hard to knock off the puck and good at cycling and around the net.

Future Considerations

has this to say about Meier:

“Smart offensively in terms of positioning, Meier just needs to polish up his defense and play with fire consistently. Meier impresses me a lot with his offensive instincts and pure determination to be a difference maker.”

Elite Prospects adds:

A physically dominant winger with the ability to play in a skill or character role. In the offensive end, Meier is very aware and gets himself into spaces where he can easily make seeing eye passes or snap hard, accurate shots. Can impact the game in a number of different ways, and is very consistent in his efforts. All-in-all, the kind of versatile player that you can put on a skill line, and trust to create dangerous chances, or on a shutdown line, and trust to help stop pucks from going into your net.

Meier’s strengths are roundly considered to be his shot, offensive IQ and willingness to play a heavy, grinding game along the boards and in front of the net. Some scouts are somewhat worried about his defensive zone prowess, pointing to the odd blind pass or bad decision, but there are others that seem confident Meier can play up and down the line-up, be it in a scoring or shut-down role.

Meier’s weakness are typically listed as his puck handling and skating, meaning they aren’t notably above average (but aren’t bad either). He was considered below average speed wise last year, though many suggest he’s improved that area since. Still, he’ll never be considered agile. 

In addition, Meier isn’t a flashy with the puck, preferring to shoot vs pass and mostly playing a straight ahead, north-south game.  

The Numbers

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Meier’s results from this year are excellent, managing 44 goals and 90 points in 61 games. By almost any angle, he put up the best results of any draft eligible forward in the QMJHL this season. His PPG pace of 1.48 and NHLe of 31 lead the league. Meier was also the only 17 year old who contributed to over 40% of his team’s point according to CHL Stats and he managed 5.33 shots on net per game, the highest of any regular skater in the league. 

Those are all sterling numbers. 

There are only a few caveats to keep in mind:

1.) Meier is a late 1996 birthday, meaning he’s one of the oldest guys in his draft class. That can confer a bit of an advantage over other kids.

2.) Meier’s results jumped from from 34 points last season to 90 points this year. In part, because he played with the dominant Nikolai Ehlers, who was picked 9th overall last year by the Winnipeg Jets. 

3.) 52 of Meier’s 90 points were at even strength, or about 58%. That’s not a terrible ratio, but it does suggest he lived on the PP a bit. Only 19 of his 44 goals came at 5on5 as well, putting him 9th in the league by this metric (even though he’s top-3 in just about every other offensive measure).

I don’t consider these major concerns, but they are worth noting. Sometimes big jumps in points for kids in junior means a big jump in development, but sometimes it means a jump in luck and circumstances as well, which are less indicative of skill. 

That said, if you follow the link for Redline Report above, they make a pretty good case that Meier’s improvement comes from idiosyncratic development, rather than just better opportunities.

Conclusion

Meier ticks a lot of boxes for the Flames. 

He’s a RW sniper with size and a strong down low, grinding game. The Flames have a dearth of natural RWers in the organization at both forward and defense, so aside from being the potential best player available if he’s around at 15, Meier also fills an obvious need.

There’s a better than even chance that Meier will be chosen before 15th overall roles around. However, if he’s still on the board – or if the Flames somehow manage to move up a few places – it wouldn’t surprise me to hear them call his name.

  • Parallex

    Meier falls into a weird zone where he’d be a no-brainer pick at 15 but not so no brainer that I’d be willing to trade up for him. If he’s there I’d hope they’d take him (even thou I’m hoping for a defenseman).

  • T&A4Flames

    Meh. I’m a little sour on Swiss prospects at the moment. Plus, another lefty. I know people want BPA, but man do we need to start developing some top D pairing potential prospects. My hope is Werenski drops or we move up to grab him. Otherwise, Chabot seems like a Flame type prospect, big, mobile, high IQ and maybe most important, he likes to improve; he’s coachable and can play a gritty game. Then maybe Kylington, Colin White and Merkley is growing on me as well.

  • Burnward

    I don’t see the point in trading up for this guy. Between Konecny, Sprong, the two Ruskis etc. there’s lots of forward skill that should probably be there at 15 if that’s where they want to go.

  • OKG

    Meh, not interested in Meier. Even if he’s there on the board I think there’re gonna be better players there.. at least one of Chabot, Sprong, Boeser, Connor, Roy, Zboril, Kylington

    . Or move down into the totally drool-worthy Provorov, Hanifin, Werensky, Marner, Barzal range.

  • RexLibris

    The Flames could move up to take Meier, and he does check off a few of their boxes.

    However, I’ve always thought that Crouse was their ideal target at forward if they are entertaining ideas of trading up.

    He fits the Burke style of player to a tee and has a connection with Bennett.

    MacKenzie had him listed at 7th, Philadelphia’s spot, so it could take quite an offer to convince them to move down if he is available there. I;d guess something in the range of the 15th, a 2nd rounder and they’d probably ask after Ferland as well.

    Worth it? Not sure about that.

    How about moving to 8th or 9th, owned by Columbus and San Jose, respectively. Either one could be convinced to move down if they are offered more 2nd round picks under the premise that they have need to restock the prospect cupboard.

    At that range I think you are looking at Crouse, Zacha, Werenski and Provorov as the possible targets.

    Or they can stick at 15th, pick one of Meier, Merkley, Svechnikov, Zboril, and others.

    MacKenzie described the draft as being layered thus: 1st and 2nd, then a collection of 5 or players, followed by about 10 that are “in the range”.

    If the Flames can’t move up into that 2nd tier without giving up significant assets, then staying in the 3rd tier and taking who is available makes the most sense.

    The three 2nd round picks can quickly be moved the following day to add NHL players to the roster and try to build on the 2014-2015 season.

    That’s the route I’d take. Pick at 15, then move one or two picks on day two to add a defender and a winger.

    If Flames fans were scripting it, how about a couple of 2nds for Patrick Sharp, Mike Green and Christian Ehrhoff in free-agency, Giordano and Backlund signed to reasonable contract extensions over the summer?

      • RexLibris

        Yeah, I’m not on the Crouse bandwagon. But MacKenzie’s list is a concensus of 10 GMs/scouts from around the league and it is pretty much the bible of draft projection. He has Crouse at 7.

        If someone takes him that high, and you have to laugh at Philadelphia being at that exact draft spot, then it means that more dynamic talent probably slides a little further down.

        However, Burke hasn’t been afraid to make draft-day deals and while Treliving has said that they are going to continue with the rebuild, there is nothing in that statement that says they will do so passively.

        They may be more aggressive in using their extra picks to move up and grab the better prospect.

        Who that may be, we don’t know.

  • Franko J

    I think the Flames should stay in the 15th slot. Giving up any 2nd round picks to move up a few spots I find is not wise. This team is still building through the draft. Right now the team is very thin in two areas: RH shooting wingers and defencemen. While Timo Meier might be a target and fill in some boxes I believe there are better prospects available. If anything I would love to see the Flames acquire more picks or a prospect or two who can push for a position during training camp.

  • Nick24

    The reason people like Crouse so much is despite his seemingly low numbers he led a pretty low scoring Kingston Frontenac’s team and did so at nearly a point per game pace, as a seventeen year-old. I understand that when Sam Bennett came back to Kingston his ppg totals went from something like 0.91ppg to 1.20ppg. Mix that with the fact that he’s a big kid and has a projectable frame, it’s hard to go wrong with Lawson.

    He’s regarded as a pretty safe pick, and scouts feel that at the very worst he ends up as a third line winger with scoring upside. Also, his skating may not be the best in the draft but I don’t believe that it is considered a concern.

    • piscera.infada

      Frankly, if you’re going to be trading up in the first round (especially that high where you have to give up good assets to do it), you’d ideally be drafting players you need. I see Crouse’s ceiling as a middle-six left-shot winger. What do the Flames have in spade? Left-shot wingers with a middle-six ceiling.

      That’s not to say that the Flames don’t want to move up for Crouse (it makes sense in Brian Burke world), but I just hope it doesn’t happen. Just say “no” to Crouse. I think he’s a little bit overrated simply because he was on the WJHC team and because “big” (or “NHL ready body”, or whatever you want to call it).

      If I’m moving up in this draft to pick someone, it’s Barzal.

  • CanadianManiac3

    I think the Flames stand pat with 15 and pick local boy Merkley. He’s easily conveted to RW, a position the Flames are weak in. Great set up guy that can give you lots of dangerous scoring options. Then I think you trade up to pick either one of Roy, Kylington, Larsson both of which are probably falling to late 1st or early second. They’re all projected as Top 3 offensive defensemen that have high hockey IQ and make a good first pass.