Mikkel Boedker, San Jose’s key offseason addition, will be a healthy scratch tonight for the second time on the season, writes Kevin Kurz of CSN Bay Area. The 27-year-old winger will be replaced in the lineup by Tommy Wingels.
Boedker inked a four-year deal with the Sharks worth $16MM after registering a 51-point campaign last season, splitting the campaign with Arizona and Colorado. The belief at the time was that the Danish winger would benefit playing with San Jose’s talented centers as Boedker never had anyone as good as Joe Thornton or Logan Couture to play with while in Arizona. Instead, Boedker has scuffled through the first half of 2016-17, registering just two goals and six assists in 38 games despite spending roughly half of his time skating either with Thornton or Couture, according to the website Left Wing Lock.
Consistency, or the lack thereof, appears to be Boedker’s biggest issue in the opinion of his head coach, Peter DeBoer, who knows Boedker from their days together in junior hockey.
“I know this kid and I know his character. My conversation with him was, heading into Christmas, he probably played eight or 10 of the best games he’s played here. Might have been our best player six or seven of those nights.
“He’s 40 games in, he knows our systems. He knows how we want to play. He’s been able to play that way and been effective for more than a game or two. He’s done it for a stretch. Now, it’s just consistently bringing that.
“This is a tough division we’re in. You can’t take your foot off the gas. We’ve got tough decisions to make every night, and we’ve got good players sitting out. I think that’s the message, and he gets it. I’m sure we’ll get a good response when he’s back in.”
It’s clear that DeBoer is still willing to give Boedker another opportunity to prove himself but his patience must be wearing thin. With three years remaining on his contract after the conclusion of the 2016-17 campaign, it will be interesting to see what the Sharks will do with the skilled winger moving forward. If he fails to turn his season around the team could look to move on but trading him with that much money left on his deal won’t be easy. The Sharks could choose not to protect Boedker and hope the Vegas Golden Knights take a chance on the gifted offensive player. Expansion clubs typically struggle in the goal-scoring department and they might be willing to assume some risk in the hopes Boedker returns to his 50-point ways.