The San Jose Sharks have added some speed at forward as they retool to try to go one step further in the playoffs next year.
The defending Western Conference champions announced they added winger Mikkel Boedker to their deep group of forwards on a four-year $16 million contract.
Last season Boedker split time between the Arizona Coyotes and Colorado Avalanche and notched 51 points in 80 games played. This tied a career high for the 26-year-old Boedker, the eighth overall pick in the 2008 NHL Draft.
Boedker’s previous deal was for one year at $3.75 million.
Last postseason, the Sharks were beaten in the Stanley Cup Final by the Pittsburgh Penguins and their speed game. Boedker should help the Sharks combat such issues better moving forward.
“Mikkel’s tremendous speed is his best attribute and he has the ability to back off defenders with his combination of quickness and soft hands,” said general manager Doug Wilson in a statement released by the team. “His creativity and puck-handling abilities make him a threat in the transition game and he is a positive contributor in all three zones. We think he will thrive with our group and look forward to him joining our team.”
This gives the Sharks depth that goes three lines deep on the left wing. In the second half of the playoffs, forward Patrick Marleau was moved from third-line center to left wing on the second-line. Tomas Hertl played first-line left wing with Joe Thornton at center and Joe Pavelski on right wing.
“I think our left and right wingers are interchangeable. We have some left and right shots that play the wing. (Joonas) Donskoi is a left winger but a right shot and can move to the other side. Melker Karlsson is the same thing,” coach Peter DeBoer said. “We just got beat by a team with Phil Kessel essentially a $7 1/2 million to $8 million player playing on the third-line. That shows you want kind of mismatches you can create when you have that type of depth. It’s a nice problem to have and we’ll find a way to deal with it.”
Wilson was asked if a move like this could marginalize Marleau since both he and Boedker have such similar skill sets. Wilson noted Boedker is simply a player that can help them compete with the team that beat them in the postseason.
“If you have mismatches with Boedker, Couture or Hertl or Donskoi playing against other teams that might not have that skill level deeper in their lineup that creates mismatches you’re looking for,” he said.
The Sharks have $3,005,836 of salary cap space left this offseason. Their only major restricted free agent remaining is forward Matt Nieto.
San Jose has $43,545,000 locked into 23 contracts for next season when the contracts of Marleau ($6.67 million) and Joe Thornton ($6.75 million) fall off.
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