Sharks select Swiss prospect while rumors swirl

The San Jose Sharks kicked off a pivotal offseason by selecting forward Timo Meier out of Halifax ninth overall in the 2015 NHL Draft.

Amidst trade speculations and rumors that they might not keep the pick, GM Doug Wilson and Director of Scouting Tim Burke made their selection as planned at No. 9.

Meier, 18, is from Switzerland and shoots left-handed. He had 44 goals to lead his team to go along with 46 assists last season for the Halifax Mooseheads. His 10 game-winning goals also led the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League.

Described as “versatile” and a “physically dominant winger” by Eliteprospects.com, Meier is the highest-ranked player from the QMJHL and is touted as an NHL-ready prospect and compares himself to Max Pacioretty of the Montreal Canadiens.

Perhaps it fits the Sharks’ vision to draft a prospect who could make an impact soon, expediting the rebuilding process after a painful 2014-2015 campaign.

They could also make some major additions via the trade market.

The Sharks have been involved in a couple of trade rumors leading up to the draft, with reports indicating they were interested in Rangers’ goaltender Cam Talbot and Canucks’ defenseman Kevin Bieksa.

According to TSN, the Sharks offered a first-round pick for Talbot, who played 36 games last season as Henrik Lundqvist’s backup and was 21-9-4 with a 2.21 GAA. He has just 57 games of experience under his belt, and despite his gaudy numbers, would be risky for the Sharks to hand the goaltending reins to. Antti Niemi, who has been the Sharks’ starting goaltender for the last five seasons, is an unrestricted free agent.

As for Bieksa, the 34-year-old defenseman seemed primed to be heading to San Jose this morning – Bieksa apparently even worked out a four-year, $18 million extension with the Sharks – but talks stalled with the Canucks reportedly asking for too much in two second-round picks.

Bieksa, a 10-year veteran, had four goals and 10 assists in 60 games last season.