There's no perfect recipe for a top-six forward. If you look at the top 10 scorers from the previous season, you don't necessarily have to be tall (ranging from 5'10" to 6'3") or big (180 lbs to 230 lbs) to be dominant. You can be flashy like Vladimir Tarasenko, Alexander Ovechkin, or Jiri Hudler, but you don't really have to be, as seen by Daniel Sedin, Nicklas Backstrom, or John Tavares.
The variance between superstars means there really is no prototypical elite NHL player, and every team has their own measuring stick for forwards based on the team philosophy. Since entering the rebuilding phase, the Flames have been looking for players with both size and skill, a tough ask sometimes. Jay Feaster and Brad Treliving have both focused in on these kinds of players, with some success (Monahan, Sam Bennett, TJ Brodie), but some failures (Brandon Bollig, Deryk Engelland). The front office can look at this draft class and find exactly what they want.
One of those big but talented players who is definitely on the draft board is Timo Meier, a Swiss import playing for the Halifax Mooseheads of the QMJHL. The highest ranking player from that league, and also one of the biggest, Meier has been given lofty praise as a potential NHL superstar. Let's take a look:
|Birthdate||October 8th, 1996|
|NHL Central Scouting Ranking||10 (12 midterm)|
|NHLe (Draft -1)||11|
Meier is a big, bruising goal-scorer. Ever since his professional hockey debut at 11 (they don't joke around in Switzerland) playing in the U-15 league, he has usually scored more, or about the same number of goals as assists. Meier's biggest asset is not so much his size, but the fact that he knows how to use it. He is a board battler, and a space-creator, often resulting in pucks in the net.
If you want a comparison that really is music to your ears, Meier compares a lot to our own Sean Monahan. If you scrubbed a scouting report of all mention of Meier and Monahan, they're essentially interchangeable. Smart, offensively gifted yet effective at both ends, net drivers with nice shots, and NHL-ready selections. Meier even won the QMJHL's Mike Bossy Award, given to the league's best professional prospect.
The comparison also works out stats wise. Take a look:
(Graph from www.theprojectionproject.com - a very useful site for prospect analysis)
Meier struggled in his first year, most likely because of the transition between Europe and North America. Monahan also had an extra year in the OHL, which gives him a leg up on Meier. However, the draft-eligible year is the most important, and in his second year in the Q, Meier had a similar NHLe as Monahan. His growth is very encouraging, and while they won't be the exact same players, Meier's trajectory being the same as Monahan's is very promising.
Furthering the Monahan comparison, he isn't a finesse skater, something Monahan was dinged for in his draft season. Meier isn't the fastest, nor is he a fundamentally-sound skater. In a league that is getting faster by the minute, his skating could render him obsolete if he fails to improve.
Another issue dragging Meier down is his occasional carelessness with the puck. While he is an overall smart guy, he has been known to toss the puck down the ice with reckless abandon, and make some mind-blowing turnovers in the offensive zone. It's a problem that can be fixed, but it will take time.
His flaws aren't huge, but they can become huge if they aren't corrected by the time he reaches the NHL level. He has shown rapid growth before, and hopefully it continues.
We've already covered two other right-wing prospects, and for good reason; the Flames have nearly nothing in that department. Meier seems like a good pick for Calgary because of his size and scoring, which the Flames are always looking to improve. With two steady RWs on the team already, Meier could stay behind a year and work towards becoming a more complete NHL forward.
The only issue is that Meier might go a little earlier than #15. If he falls, it's a steal of a pick, but he's not worth trading up for. There's will be a great selection of players available at #15, and with the wealth of value in this year's draft, it's going to cost too much to move up.
Why draft him?
- A near-complete package player
- Elite scorer in junior
- Smart and productive on both ends of the ice
- One of the most NHL-ready players
- I want another Swiss winger because I'm still bitter about the last one leaving.
Why not draft him?
- Skating issues could mean more development time
Throughout the season, Meier has worked hard and earned his NHL-ready status. He'll be a good pick for the team that drafts him, and if the Flames do, it could be a bargain considering draft position.
Mute the first video because it's Nickleback.