New Jersey Devils Q&A - September 19, 2023
I answered your questions re: who is in line for career years, roster battles, Holtz' ceiling, the Devils' regular season outlook, and much more.
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I haven’t done a Q&A since the end of July. With all the off-season roster movement in the rearview mirror, and the 2023-24 campaign just around the corner, now seemed like the perfect time to jump back into the waters.
Let’s get right to your questions.
Q: If you could plant your flag on one player to have a career year, other than Jack or Nico, who would it be, and why?
Timo Meier. I think all the stars are aligning for him to have a monstrous year and surpass his previous high in points (76).
The production wasn’t there for him during his cup of coffee with the Devils last year – especially in the playoffs – but everything else was. He looked dangerous with the puck on his stick and his chance generation numbers were through the roof.
He’s coming into camp fully healthy and accustomed to his new surroundings. He now knows his teammates, he knows the city, he knows the way the team plays, and there are absolutely zero distractions.
Meier isn’t being asked to adjust on the fly after uprooting his entire life and moving from somewhere he has spent seven full years. He doesn’t have the uncertainty of his next contract looming over his head. He doesn’t have any of that.
Meier knows New Jersey is home for good. He knows he’s going to make a boatload of money and how he performs is no longer going to impact how much he makes. Oh, and he has the best supporting cast of his NHL life.
I know Meier played on some very good Sharks teams but this Devils squad could be a completely different animal.
Just think about the top-6 possibilities for a moment. Skating on a line with, say, Nico Hischier and Dawson Mercer would be a ‘bad’ set of linemates for him.
That feels batshit crazy to say but, well, it’s the truth when the other possible center is a 22-year-old coming off a 99 point season and the other realistic alternative on the right side is a Stanley Cup winner who just produced 73 points on a bad offensive team.
I expect everything to click for Meier this year. Even playing a shift or two less than he did in San Jose every night, he will have every opportunity to put up big offensive numbers.
Q: If you had to pick one guy to force his way onto the opening night roster, who is it and why?
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