After losing to Pittsburgh in the Stanley Cup Final, the San Jose Sharks, with most of their roster set to return, made just a couple of minor changes in the summer. Their headline acquisition was the signing of unrestricted free agent winger Mikkel Boedker to a four-year deal worth $16MM. The Sharks concluded after watching the Penguins storm through the postseason with a quick and deep roster that they needed an infusion of skill and speed and went out on the first day of free agency and signed Boedker to add those elements.
Unfortunately for Boedker and the Sharks, the adjustment to his new team isn’t going as smoothly as hoped. Through 22 games, the Danish forward has just two goals and is averaging less than one shot per contest. Last season, Boedker scored 17 goals and averaged better than two shots per game. Despite the presence of high-end offensive talent up front, Boedker has yet to develop chemistry with any of his fellow forwards. It got bad enough last night that Sharks coach Pete DeBoer benched Boedker for the third period of a game the Sharks would lose 3 – 2, as Curtis Pashelka of The Mercury News writes.
DeBoer didn’t mince words in postgame comments regarding the benching:
“Again, we were behind going into the third. Some guys it was just circumstance. Some guys didn’t deserve to play.”
It’s obviously far too early to label the Boedker signing a bust but it’s clear that 22 games in the investment isn’t paying off to this point for the Sharks.
Elsewhere in the Pacific:
- Jason Botchford pens a piece for The Province listing 10 reasons to feel good about the Vancouver Canucks. Despite internal expectations to compete for a playoff spot, most pundits felt the team simply doesn’t have enough talent still in their prime to challenge for the postseason. Unfortunately for Vancouver, the latter group has proven write. But as Botchford points out, even in the midst of a bad season, there still can be reasons to feel good about the Canucks. Perhaps the topic most relevant for us was Botchford’s mention of Erik Gudbranson’s potential free agent asking price. Gudbranson was acquired in an offseason deal with Florida and is scheduled to be a restricted free agent next summer. Botchford believes that a figure of $5MM annually has been floated but suggests the early struggles, both of the team and of Gudbranson, could serve to bring that number down to something more palatable for the Canucks.
- The Arizona Coyotes called up a couple of players in advance of their game today against Edmonton – a contest they would win 2 – 1. Sarah McClellan of AZ Central Sports reports that the team recalled goaltender Justin Peters from Tucson to backup starter Mike Smith. Louis Domingue is currently day-to-day with a lower-body-injury. According to Arizona head coach Dave Tippett, the injury is “nothing serious,” but the Coyotes wanted a fully healthy net minder up if needed. Meanwhile, according to KPNX 12 News Sports, Arizona also recalled center Tyler Gaudet from the Tucson Roadrunners of the AHL. Gaudet has made one other appearance this season for the Coyotes and has 17 games overall of NHL experience. In 11 games with the Roadrunners, Gaudet has two goals and seven points. Neither player saw action this afternoon for Arizona.