When the Phoenix Coyotes traded Scottie Upshall at the deadline one of the reason's Don Maloney cited was the play of Mikkel Boedker making it possible to deal one of the top goal scorers for the Coyotes. A good number of fans were shocked. Some were even angry. Asking where goal scoring would come from certainly not Kyle Turris or the kids, pshaw. Turris only had 10 goals so far in the season how can we count on him? people were asking. Well the thing is, is that alone Kyle Turris, Mikkel Boedker and Brett MacLean haven't been able to do much. It's not hard to see why when Turris gets playing time on a line with Paul Bissonnette and whoever coach Tippett decides not to scratch. When the kids get put together though you get games like they had the other night against Detroit.
Why such a difference though? Well, apart each guy has a good skill set. You can see that from Turris' assist to Ray Whitney from the other night. He passed through traffic right onto Whitney's stick and Ray finished the play. Boedker has been solid on any line he's on, going into corners and winning possession battles. MacLean hasn't seen much time actually playing for the NHL team, but from what I saw Saturday he can be like a smaller Martin Hanzal in that while he may not be the single greatest skater in the world, if he goes to the front of the net moving him away is difficult. It's the balance of the three guys that makes the line difficult to deal with and gives them the ability to get the rest of the team going.
Each guy has a certain role to play when they're placed together on the ice. Kyle Turris can float through the defense and set plays up. It gets even better when he shoots his wrister when the opportunity presents itself. Mikkel Boedker takes care of the play along the boards. As we've seen he comes out with the puck more frewuently than not. Both of those guys have speed to spare and can fly into the zone for rushes or just to get the puck deep without having to dump it in every time. Like I said before Brett MacLean can park himself in front of the goal for the deflections and garbage. He's got a nice shot too so doesn't have to stay there, but if Jimmy Howard diving into his knees doesn't get him out of the way how will defensemen that aren't Chara sized? Just take a look at this goal from the other night and watch each guy do their job.
Turris especially never gives up on the play. Watch MacLean take a shot from up close on the initial try and Boedker may not factor into the scoresheet on this goal, but he's right there at the front of the net waiting for rebounds an making the smart play. MacLean takes up position in front of the net to screen Howard later in the play and while Howard was screaming like a baby about interference afterwards, the fact is MacLean claimed the ice and Howard had to try and make the save while he was face first in Brett's pads.
Later on Mikkel Boedker added a goal for the Kid line on a bad Detroit turnover.
Now, the major part of this play is Detroit just making a bad play, but it's forced by Brett MacLean charging in hard after the puck and hurrying Jimmy Howard's pass. Mikkel Boedker goes to the slot area in case MacLean comes out with the puck, but instead gets a gift right on his stick from Detroit and buries it. He took just enough time to not be surprised to get it done. How many times have we seen some of the more veteran guys lift it high or wide with a wide open net?
Basically what I'm saying is this. The guys are still on the young side, but have all the tools to be a bona fide number one line in the coming seasons. If they each play their roles and work as hard as they did last game, none of them are going to have to "justify" being high picks like some have suggested.