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Timo Meier Aiming for Role with Sharks

by Eric Gilmore / San Jose Sharks

SAN JOSE -- San Jose Sharks training camp doesn't open until September, but 19-year-old forward Timo Meier used development camp in July as his campaign to make the team.

Meier, the No. 9 pick in the 2015 NHL Draft, capped a strong camp by scoring three goals and an assist during a scrimmage.

"You want to show your teammates, you want to show the organization that you're ready for this challenge," Meier said. "Being here, most important is just the way you work on the ice, the way you handle yourself."

Meier (6-foot-1, 210 pounds) pushed hard to make the Sharks roster last season but was returned to Halifax of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League for a third season.

"I came into camp and I wanted to make the team," Meier said. "I got pretty far, I got pretty close. I think I had a good camp. It didn't work out last year, but for me it was just a learning process and being patient, going back to juniors. This year I want to go into camp with the mindset of making the team and just working hard. I want to go there and deserve my chance."

The Sharks sent Meier back to the junior level with specific instructions.

"They told me to just work on all parts of my game, just kind of get more mature," he said. "Play the pro game down in the juniors, getting in front, getting inside, scoring goals in front of the net, just being strong and dominating in all aspects. Improve in every aspect of my game was kind of the goal going into juniors.

"I want to play a power game, and that's something I've definitely got to work on, to get inside, fight through those bodies, get in front of the net. It's definitely not going to be easy if you play against men, but that's the fun of the game, that's the new challenge coming up, playing pro."

Meier had 36 points (11 goals, 25 assists) in 23 games for Halifax and 51 points (23 goals, 28 assists) for Rouyn-Noranda, which acquired him in a midseason trade to bolster their playoff-bound roster. Meier had 23 points (11 goals, 12 assists) in 18 playoff games to help Royun-Noranda win the QMJHL championship. He then had five goals and three assists in five games during the Memorial Cup.

"I think he's gotten more mature," Sharks development coach Mike Ricci said. "I think just like all the kids, he's trying to find what works for him in a game, but he's a hard worker and he's willing to learn, so he's going to be good. He's got some power and some skill. He's got to find when to use each one, and he'll use each one, and he'll learn that quick.

"Definitely he's strong enough, but he's got to learn when to use his strength and when he needs to use his skill and put it all together. He's definitely got the whole package."

Meier made a strong impression with his work ethic on Roy Sommer, coach of the Sharks' American Hockey League affiliate, which is also located in San Jose.

"The guy's a workhorse, man," said Sommer, who ran development camp. "Like, he stayed out extra. He didn't have to stay out extra and do skating. He's just got an unbelievable work ethic, which is probably one of the reasons he got drafted so high.

"He plays with a lot of determination. He's going to have some things to learn. I think he tries to go through people. He's going to have to start going around people and using that speed. He kind of takes on the tiger, but he'll learn."

Meier said he learned long ago about the importance of hard work.

"It's something that makes me what I am," he said. "I wouldn't be here if I didn't work hard. That's something that has brought me success. If you want to have success, there's no elevator. You've got to take the stairs."

Meier said he planned to return to Switzerland to spend time with his family and begin his offseason workouts with a trainer.

"These days, you've got to be an elite athlete off the ice," Meier said. "You've got to be physically ready. You've got to be in the best shape of your life and you can never be fast enough, you can never be strong enough. So there are things you want to work on all the time."

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