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Devils to begin contract talks with Meier this week

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New Jersey Devils general manager Tom Fitzgerald is committed to ramping up contract talks with restricted free-agent forward Timo Meier this week.

"We would love nothing better to tie him up long term," Fitzgerald said, per's Mike Zeisberger. "That's our goal. That's what (agent) Claude (Lemieux) and I will go through."

"I want them to understand what New Jersey is, what the organization is, the living - I think New Jersey is a diamond in the rough - the travel, all the positive things. Give him a chance to settle in and go: 'OK, I hope you want to be here.' Those are some of the things we'll go through."

The Devils acquired Meier from the San Jose Sharks prior to this season's trade deadline. New Jersey sent a package of three draft picks and four players to San Jose to add the highly sought-after right winger to supplement its first playoff appearance since 2019.

Meier collected 14 points in 21 regular-season games with the Devils, then produced an underwhelming playoff run with only four points in 11 appearances before New Jersey was bounced by the Carolina Hurricanes in Round 2.

"It's really hard to come in and understand a new system," Fitzgerald said. "As a player, I've done it twice. It's really hard. Our system's hard, too. The (defensive) zone; it's difficult to understand. And it takes some time. Coaches say it takes at least 20 games to get used to a system, so you evaluate your team after 20 games, right? And for sure, it took some adjustment."

The Devils have an estimated $34 million in cap space this offseason, per CapFriendly. However, New Jersey only has a roster size of 12 at the moment, and Jesper Bratt, Michael McLeod, and Yegor Sharangovich are among additional key RFAs in need of new contracts like Meier.

If the Devils can't agree on a long-term deal with Meier this summer, the qualifying offer to retain his RFA rights for an additional season is $10 million.

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