As per Jim Biringer of Full Press NHL notes, New Jersey Devils general manager Tom Fitzgerald has begun the process of negotiating a long-term extension for recently acquired forward Timo Meier. Fitzgerald confirmed that he has reached out to the agent of the pending RFA and specifically in regards to a long-term extension, hopefully removing the need to sign a qualifying offer and taking any threat of Meier walking into unrestricted free agency at the end of next season off of the table.
The Devils paid well to outbid other teams looking to add a significant piece in Meier at this season’s NHL trade deadline. The plan was to make a run while the Devils were surging in the standings and unlike some other teams who might have looked at Meier with the plan to actually treat him like a rental and then trade him again, it was expected the Devils were going to be open to signing him to a sizeable deal once this season ended. He fit well with what the Devils are trying to build and it was believed he was seen as a good fit as the team matured.
News that Fitzgerald is trying to secure Meier on a long-term extension seems to confirm those rumors and he noted, “Meier knows that I believe this is the right place for Timo. He and his agent and I will talk and go through this and hopefully figure something out long-term.” The hope is that the two sides can work something out while also finding room to re-sign Jesper Bratt and go after a top-tier starting goaltender.
It’s not clear what an extension for Meier might look like or how much a slightly-lackluster playoff run will impact negotiations, but if the team and the player can’t find mutual ground, Meier is due a qualifying offer of $10 million on a one-year contract, which the team could sign him to or they could try to shop him over the next few weeks.
The Devils would also like to get Bratt signed to a long-term deal and James Nichols of The Fourth Period cited Fitzgerald who noted, “We paused talks prior to playoffs. There’s definitely progression, a framework of a deal to be done long-term if Jesper wants that. Jesper knows exactly what that framework looks like. I know Jesper wants to be a Devil long-term.” Bratt had 32 goals and 41 assists for 73 points as a 24-year-old.
Pierre LeBrun tweeted this week: “Have been told that Ruff and the Devils are already negotiating a new deal. His contract expires on June 30th.”
Next: Oilers’ Holland Drops Big Hint: “I Won’t Buy Green Bananas”
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