Last week, we profiled the guy who went #12 in the SB Nation mock draft. Yesterday, we introduced you to our pickin the mock draft. It makes sense to talk about the guy who went at #14; conveniently, he was also the other player we considered taking for ourselves. Let's see if we should have gone with this guy instead.
Who is Timo Meier?
If you ask a bunch of draft experts which draft prospect is most likely to be donning a Los Angeles Kings uniform on June 26, this is the answer you'll get. Why? Because he's probably not going to go in the top ten, and he's probably not going to slip out of the top half of the first round. Simple probability!
Consensus Ranking: #11-15
Highest Ranking: #8, Craig Button, TSN
Lowest Ranking: #15, HockeyProspect.com
Why he might be gone before #13
You're not going to find a true SURE THING outside the top two, or maybe the top five if you're feeling generous, of this year's draft. If you're talking about sure NHL players, though? Timo Meier is probably your best bet as you venture outside the top ten. He's got the size, for one, as he's 6'1", 187 pounds, and tough to bump off the puck. He's got the numbers; Meier racked up 90 points in 61 games, and though you have to take every scoring total from the offenseoffenseoffense QMJHL with a grain of salt, that was good for the 7th-best PPG average in the league. And he's got the all-around abilities, which is to say, he plays defense.
Plus, Craig Button is comparing him to Marian Hossa. Which means that, if you don't think Meier's a future Hall of Famer, you'll have hordes of Blackhawks fans following you around to scream at you for the rest of your life.
Why he might be available at #13
What is Timo Meier's ceiling?
I don't know, that's why I'm asking.
Look, Meier's going to be a good player. That's not really a debate. There are reasons to wonder whether or not he's going to be a true difference-maker at the NHL level, though.
- his league: again, the QMJHL is heavy on the offense, and high totals don't guarantee eventual success. According to the Projection Project, 40% of all players who have hit 90 points in their draft year in the QMJHL have gone on to play in the NHL. Meier's much better than a 40% shot, but that emphasizes why teams might side-eye Meier higher up in the draft.
- his teammate: Meier plays alongside Nikolaj Ehlers for the Halifax Mooseheads; Ehlers was the ninth overall pick in the 2014 Draft and led the QMJHL in points per game (1.98). Is Meier a product of Ehlers? Meier was just fine without his buddy when Ehlers was out of the lineup this year, but again, a shadow of a doubt is enough to knock you out of the top ten.
- his skillset: The skillset is solid, of course. But guys like Pavel Zacha and Matthew Barzal have the raw talent that makes scouts drool; from reading scouting reports, Meier's simply makes them nod their heads in approval.
Why the Kings might draft him
Are the Kings looking for someone that they know they'll be able to slot into their lineup in a couple years on one wing or the other? If so, you can't do much better than Meier. Meier also fits the "great player who could improve his skating" bill; while it's not a weakness, his skating is more based on leverage than speed (as Craig Button explains). The Kings went with Valentin Zykov out of the QMJHL for their first selection two years ago, and it's easy to see them doing the same for a player who's even more productive than Zykov was at 18.
Picking Meier would be more than a little reminiscent of when the Kings opted for Adrian Kempe last year. Both are two-way forwards with good offensive instincts and big bodies. Kempe is starting to look like a good bet to fill a spot on the Kings' third line long-term, but I think LA would be hoping for more out of Meier, and they can probably expect it. Organizational fit, plenty of upside, and a fun name for the fans to chant.
Why the Kings might pass him up
The reasons primarily match the "Why he might be available" above; which is to say, if the Kings aren't impressed with his pure talent or don't trust the season he had due to the circumstances he played in, they'll pass. Honestly, I can't come up with too many reasons LA would ignore Meier if they feel like his production was legitimately impressive last season. The Kings might want to go for someone who has more experience down the middle, but Meier can play there and has played there. The Kings have also never drafted anyone from Switzerland higher than the 180th pick, but I feel like you can tell that I'm grasping at straws at this point, so I'll just get to the point.
For the lazy, your one-sentence summary:
Timo Meier would be an excellent choice for the Kings at #13, and if LA doesn't fall in love with any players that have more raw skill, they'll be more than happy to snatch up their first Swiss first-rounder ever.