Timo Meier (Photo by Francois Laplante/Freestyle Photo/Getty Images)
The Halifax Mooseheads import has been great for The Herd, blending physicality with great playmaking ability, which he also brought to the Swiss world junior team. Learn about Meier and nine other top NHL prospects in our weekly wrap.
It’s the most wonderful time of the year if you’re an NHL scout, as all-star games for draft hopefuls are in full swing. Last week, the United States League held its Top Prospects Game, while this week the CHL takes its turn. Though the USHL game was a bit lopsided (a 7-4 contest that was never close), many players stood out. And injuries in the CHL have given some previously overlooked players a second chance. Let’s take a look at some of those kids and more in our weekly wrap-up of players we’re excited to see in the NHL one day.
Timo Meier, RW – Halifax Mooseheads (QMJHL)
You could say that Meier has been lucky to line up beside two of the most dynamic teenagers in the world this year – Kevin Fiala on the Swiss world junior team and Nikolaj Ehlers with Halifax – but there’s a reason the talented right winger earned those plum assignments: He’s pretty good in his own right, as evidenced by the 25 goals and 56 points he has put up for the Mooseheads in 37 games.
“I had a good start to the season, it's going pretty good,” Meier said. “We’re a young team and we’re improving every day. It’s been fun so far.”
The Swiss may have bombed out at the world juniors, but Meier showed a lot of great attributes and he’ll be back to defend his country’s honor next year as well. In the meantime, the late 1996 birthday is honing his skills in the Quebec League as he prepares for the NHL draft.
“It’s a fast league, with a lot of fast players,” he said. “It’s really intense. I can improve my game a lot in this league.”
Halifax has made great use of the Import Draft, with Meier and Denmark’s Ehlers representing the latest class (Jakub Voracek was the best find to date). Though the Mooseheads traded away star goalie Zach Fucale, they’re still a middle-tier team right now and with Meier on the loose, opponents need to be wary when the six-foot, 209-pounder is on the ice.
“I’m a strong body,” he said. “I use my size to bring pucks to the net, go in the dirty areas and be physical on the boards. For sure I want to get faster and be more defensive and responsible, play a simple game.”
Those aggressive attributes will serve Meier well at the CHL Top Prospects Game and at the next level, no matter who he plays with. Draft eligible in 2015.
Andreas Johnson, LW – Frolunda Indians (SHL)
The Indians just qualified for the Champions League final, a pan-European tournament that runs during the season. Johnson has been one of the drivers, despite his youth. The quick, skilled goal-scorer is now second in tourney scoring with 11 goals and 24 points in just 11 games. Drafted 202nd overall by Toronto in 2013.
Glenn Gawdin, RW – Swift Current Broncos (WHL)
Scouts love Gawdin’s all-around game and as a late add to the CHL Top Prospects Game, the Broncos right winger will now have a chance to strut his stuff on a big stage. Gawdin skates well, plays with skill and hockey sense and is great on faceoffs. Draft eligible in 2015.
Ryan Larkin, G – Cedar Rapids RoughRiders (USHL)
Though he’s not a huge goaltender (about six-foot), Larkin makes himself appear just as big as larger netminders, which goes a long way in explaining why it’s so hard to put a puck past him. The Miami University commit leads the USHL with a 2.13 goals-against average and .924 save percentage. Draft eligible in 2015.
Chase Pearson, C – Youngstown Phantoms (USHL)
Pearson’s line with Tanner Laczynski and Kevin Conley ran wild at the USHL Top Prospects Game, strafing the competition for the first three goals of the game. The son of ex-NHLer Scott Pearson, Chase is an Atlanta-area product whom scouts love thanks to his big frame and his smarts. His OHL rights were just acquired by Windsor. Draft eligible in 2015.
Brendan Perlini, LW – Niagara IceDogs (OHL)
Niagara just couldn’t seem to get into gear without Perlini, who missed a big chunk of the season due to hand surgery stemming from an NHL pre-season game. But now that the big, skilled winger is back in the fold, the IceDogs are turning things around. Perlini’s 21 points in 18 games have certainly helped. Drafted 12th overall by Arizona in 2014.
Nikita Pavlychev, C – Des Moines Buccaneers (USHL)
A monster at 6-foot-7, 206 pounds, Pavlychev is even more terrifying because he moves pretty quickly around the ice. The Penn State commit is offensively creative and was one of the better players on the losing side at the USHL Top Prospects Game. Draft eligible in 2015.
Jonas Siegenthaler, D – ZSC Lions (Swi.)
Siegenthaler is not a finished product, but there’s certainly a lot to like in the 6-foot-2, 214-pound blueliner. The youngster is physical, he keeps his man in front of him and he makes a good first pass. Decision-making got him into some penalty trouble at the world juniors, but he has time to learn. Draft eligible in 2015.
Danton Heinen, C – University of Denver Pioneers (NCHC)
The leading scorer in the conference with 25 points in 21 games, Heinen has been a great freshman addition to the Pios, who swept St. Cloud State on the weekend. Though slight in stature, the former BCHLer has a nifty bag of offensive tricks at his disposal and a quick stride. Drafted 116th overall by Boston in 2014.