San Jose Sharks’ Mikkel Boedker Needs to Start Producing
Coming off of the longest and most successful playoff run in franchise history, the San Jose Sharks didn’t make too many changes to their roster, but general manager Doug Wilson was set on improving team speed which was lacking against the Pittsburgh Penguins in the Stanley Cup Final. So he ended up signing two free agents in David Schlemko and Mikkel Boedker. One of the two is having a pretty good season so far in San Jose. The other one? Eh… not so much. With 22 games in the books this season, Boedker has struggled on the stats sheet as well as on the ice, with just 2 goals (vs. Columbus Blue Jackets and vs. Arizona Coyotes). He is a -6 on the team, and one has to be wondering what in the hell is going on with him.
To refresh your memory, this was a player who was drafted by the then-Phoenix Coyotes in 2008 and 8 years as a Desert Dog, was traded last year at the trade deadline to the Colorado Avalanche. In 80 games played last year, split between Arizona and Colorado, the right-winger scored 17 goals and 51 points, and while he only potted 4 of those 17 goals with Colorado, he played in only 18 games with the Avs.
Now, the Sharks obviously saw him as a big piece to competing for the Stanley Cup again, especially considering his speed but so far no matter where head coach Peter DeBoer slots him into the line-up, nothing’s working for him.
The one thing that sticks out for me is that he’s got to simplify his game. Either his shots aren’t finding the net, or he’s got to take the shot when it’s there. I honestly think it’s both. Either way, the time has come for him to start producing.
Last game against the Anaheim Ducks, Pete DeBoer sent a message to Boedker by benching him in the third period. According to his player stats page on NHL.com, Boedker only clocked in for 8:56 — almost 9 minutes, and took 16 shifts before getting benched. When asked about Boedker’s reaction, DeBoer responded to the media saying “I would hope he’s pissed off. It’s always a last resort as a coach.”
What’s even more interesting is DeBoer also brought up the issue of the winger’s compete level after the 3-2 loss to the Ducks. Granted, the whole team play wasn’t very good in that game especially with the turnovers.
DeBoer had initially drawn Boedker into the lineup with Couture and Donskoi on the second line in hopes to creating an even faster and more potent offense. It’s safe to say that the Sharks fan base thought so too.
Two goals 22 games into a season isn’t good enough. Boedker knows that. Everyone does. Like Pete DeBoer, I would hope that Boedker is “pissed off” about the benching as well and starts performing up to standards.
However, if this keeps going for well after the quarter point mark of the season, which has now passed, the Sharks may need to consider other options in the lineup. Tonight, the Sharks face off against the Desert Dogs again. We’ll see if Boedker can redeem himself and starting picking up the pace.