Meier back with Sharks after working on his game in AHL

Meier back with Sharks after working on his game in AHL

ST. PAUL – On paper, Timo Meier’s production after he was reassigned to the AHL Barracuda on Feb. 16 was down. The former first-round pick had just six points (3g, 3a) in 14 games, and was scoreless in his last five, a far cry from what he was doing there earlier in the season and way off his numbers in juniors.

But at just 20 years old, Meier is still in the learning phase of his professional career. And as impressive as the Barracuda have been this season, they’re still playing in a developmental league, first and foremost. Meier got a chance to work on some of the aspects of his game he needed to work on.

“It was obviously hard going back,” said Meier, who has three goals and two assists in 28 games, before Tuesday’s game in Minnesota. “Sometimes you go back there and you try too much, but they told me to work on some things in my game, and I tried to do that.

“For me, going down there it was all about learning stuff on the ice, off the ice. … It’s my first year [in pro hockey], so as a young guy you want to learn and listen to the coaches, too. Just get better.”

Coach Pete DeBoer went into pretty good detail on what the ninth overall pick in the 2015 draft needed to do with the Barracuda, and what he needs to show now that he’s back in the NHL.

“I think with a lot of big, talented young guys, they have to realize when they can make an extra play with the puck and when they have to chip it in,” DeBoer said. “They’re so used to dominating at the levels they’ve been at for so long, that [it’s] easier said than done. It’s habits you have to learn, and you don’t learn unless you’re doing them on a consistent basis.”

Meier’s shot selection, too, is something that needed some improvement, according to the coach. While the power winger might be generating plenty of shot attempts, no doubt pleasing the advanced stats crowd, there’s more to being an effective forward than running up numbers on the Excel spreadsheets.

“You don’t want to shoot [just] to shoot up here, or to just get shots on net. You’re not scoring on NHL goalies like you are on junior goalies from 30 or 40 feet out,” DeBoer said. “You’ve got to pick your spots. Sometimes you have to look for a better play than a shot.”

Meier said: “It’s a really tough league. As a young guy coming in, sometimes you’ve got to stay patient, too, try not [to do] too much. … Sometimes I tried [to do] a little too much.”

Meier has been in the Sharks’ lineup for each of the last two games. He started on the fourth line before getting bumped up to Tomas Hertl’s third line on Monday in Dallas, and returned to the fourth line with Chris Tierney and Micheal Haley for Tuesday’s tilt in Minnesota. He is scoreless with two shots on goal over those two games.

He could be a temporary fill in for Jannik Hansen, who remains out with an upper body injury but could potentially return before the end of the road trip this weekend. Or, perhaps Meier does enough to stick around for the stretch run and the playoffs. There would seem to be an opportunity to push someone else out of the lineup, as the Sharks’ depth scoring has been a season-long problem.

“It’s a great opportunity for me, getting that chance again later on in the season,” Meier said. “I want to put it all on the ice, leave it all out there and just make the best out of every shift I get. Play my game, play within my strengths, [do] the things that got me here, and I’m sure I’ll be successful like that.”

Sharks recall two with Hansen's status unknown

Sharks recall two with Hansen's status unknown

The Sharks have recalled forwards Timo Meier and Danny O’Regan ahead of their four-game road trip that begins Monday in Dallas.

Forward Jannik Hansen left Saturday’s game against Anaheim in the third period and did not return after taking an apparent stick to the head from defenseman Brandon Montour. His status is not known, as coach Pete DeBoer did not offer any update after San Jose’s 2-1 loss.

Hansen is with the team in Dallas, though his playing status is up in the air. 

In 26 games with the Sharks this season, Meier has five points (3g, 2a). In 21 games with the AHL Barracuda, he’s posted nine goals and 12 assists for 21 points in 32 games. The 20-year-old first round pick in 2015 (ninth overall), Meier was reassigned to the Barracuda on Feb. 16.

O’Regan, a 23-year-old Boston University product, made his NHL debut on Nov. 21, going scoreless. The center leads the Barracuda with 52 points (20g, 32a) in 54 games.

In six games since he was acquired from Vancouver, Hansen has one assist and a minus-one rating, skating on the left wing of the Joe Thornton-Joe Pavelski line. Tomas Hertl skated in his place on that line late in the Ducks game, while Meier started in that spot for four games in early January.

In a corresponding move, Ryan Carpenter was reassigned to the Barracuda.

Sharks reassign four to AHL, including Labanc and Meier

Sharks reassign four to AHL, including Labanc and Meier

The Sharks reassigned four players to their AHL affiliate ahead of the NHL All-Star break this weekend.

Timo Meier, Kevin Labanc, Barclay Goodrow and Tim Heed are all on their way to Grand Rapids, Michigan, where they will meet the Barracuda for their game against the Griffins Friday night. On Saturday, the Barracuda visit the Milwaukee Admirals.

The move is consistent with how the Sharks have handled their young players that are still attempting to prove they are NHL regulars. 

Labanc, for example, was previously reassigned to the Barracuda when San Jose had a rare four-day break in its schedule in early December. While the regulars had a full weekend off, Labanc got on a plane to San Antonio on Dec. 3. He was recalled three days later.

“I don’t think any of these young guys have arrived yet, where they’re ready for weekends off. If they can play hockey, they’re going to play hockey,” DeBoer said on Dec. 6.

Labanc has 14 points (7g, 7a) in 37 games, although he hasn't scored in his last 13. Meier has four points (2g, 2a) in 18 games. Goodrow and Heed have each played one NHL game this season.

The Sharks resume their schedule on Tuesday, Feb. 1 against Chicago.