Little could catch forward Timo Meier off guard heading into his draft eligible season.
Having watched Halifax Mooseheads teammate and fellow import Nikolaj Ehlers go through the process a year ago before being selected ninth overall by the Winnipeg Jets in the 2014 NHL Draft, Meier -- a product of Switzerland -- had a jumpstart on his own draft experience.
"I worked hard this summer and knew what to expect;” Meier told NHL.com in February. “I saw how [Ehlers] played and how he went up the ranks and how the game is here, and that helped me.”
With the experience in hand, Meier set to get to work to carve his own course in 2015.
"[Halifax coach Dominique Ducharme] told me you have to get faster and stronger over the summer and I worked on that,” he said.
That work paid off.
In 2014-15, Meier led Halifax with 44 goals, including a franchise-record 23 power play goals and finished second on the team with 90 points in 61 games. He also paced the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League and tied for second place in the Canadian Hockey League with 10 game-winning goals.
He added 10 goals and 21 points in 14 postseason games before Halifax fell to the Moncton Wildcats in the second round of the QMJHL playoffs.
"I'm improving in scoring goals, finishing plays and my skating,” Meier said. “I'm able to use my size and play a big game; that's something I know I need to keep working at. I like to play physical and put pucks on net."
Meier, who is the highest-ranked player from the QMJHL, was named the League’s best professional prospect at their annual Golden Puck Awards.
Born: October 8, 1996
Hometown: Herisau, CHE
Position: RW (Left Shot)
Team: Halifax (QMJHL)
CSS Rank: 10th among North American Skaters
FC Rank: 14th overall
ISS Rank: 14th overall
Guillaume Gervais of Future Considerations: “He has really stepped forward the last two viewings. There is a fire under his ass now, and he’s showing a physical side he never really did before. Smart offensively in terms of positioning, he just needs to polish up his defense and play with this fire consistently. Meier impressed me a lot in this game as he showed off his offensive instincts and pure determination to be a difference maker.”
Jack Higgins of International Scouting Service: “Good size winger with a thick build. Skating is fine with deceptive speed. Has good vision, can make plays or fire the puck. Continues to improve and impress.”
Dan Marr of Central Scouting: "He's a solid and strong skater both with and without the puck, has high-end hockey sense and reads the play very well. He competes and works smart on plays and is very effective in 1-on-1 situations."
As a lead-in to the 2015 NHL Draft, CalgaryFlames.com will outline potential targets for the Calgary Flames with the 15th overall pick in the first round on draft day on June 26th.