Sharks

Sharks

It's official: Timo Meier will be a member of the Sharks for years to come.

NHL free agency opened at 9 a.m. PT on Monday, and it didn't take long for the Sharks to address their biggest remaining priority. They signed Meier to a four-year, $24 million contract that will keep the young forward away from unrestricted free agency until 2024. However, the contract is somewhat backloaded.

Meier was a restricted free agent, so the Sharks faced the possibility of losing him to a large offer sheet from another team on the open market. But in signing the winger to a four-year contract, the Sharks ensure they retain a highly productive young member of their core.

"Timo is one of only a few young, dominant power forwards in the NHL, and we're extremely pleased that he stepped forward to make this commitment to the Sharks," general manager Doug Wilson said in a team-issued statement. "We feel that his best hockey is still ahead of him."

If that's indeed the case, that's a scary thought for the rest of the NHL. Meier is coming off a season in which he made the leap, tallying 30 goals and 36 assists for the Sharks in just his third year in the league.

 

Retaining Meier was critical, considering the other free agents San Jose had on the open market. Within an hour of free agency opening, Joe Pavelski had signed with the Stars, and Gustav Nyquist and Joonas Donskoi had agreed to terms with the Blue Jackets and the Avalanche, respectively.

[RELATED: Losing Pavelski is a painful but necessary move for Sharks]

In getting both Meier and Erik Karlsson to re-sign long term with the franchise, Wilson accomplished arguably his two most important tasks of the offseason.