Mikkel Boedker is off to a very hot start. Does he set a new career high for goals in a season?
Carl Putnam (Alpha): Yes. He already has five goals and there are 79 games left to play. Obviously, he isn't going to keep shooting at the torrid pace he is now (38.5%!!!). However, even if he cools down to the pace he was on last season, he'd finish with 23 goals which would be four more than his current NHL career high of 19.
Jordan Ellel: Considering that he is already more than 25 percent of the way there through just three games, I certainly hope so. He seems to be committed to driving the puck toward the net more and is getting the opportunity for top line minutes with Vermette and Doan - a unit that has had good chemistry in the past as well. Certainly if the Coyotes are going to be a playoff contender then he needs to surpass 19 goals, and I think he will. He won't keep up the blazing pace, but I'd peg him for 34 when the season is done.
Christopher Hair: As someone who predicted Boedker would lead the team in points with 60+ in the preseason, I see no reason to back out of it now. I see 30-35 as reasonable for the speedster, especially if he and Yandle keep up their Vulcan mind meld chemistry on breakouts.
Seth Juneac: Yes. Even without this early offensive showing, this was the season he was supposed to take that next step forward. If he continues to shoot the puck like he has, than 25 goals is a reasonable expectation. As much as Coyotes fans would appreciate 35+ and contention for the Rocket Richard, it's important to temper expectations.
Is Boedker the best forward the Coyotes have drafted since Shane Doan?
Alpha: No, Martin Hanzal, Kyle Turris and Blake Wheeler are objectively better than the Dane to this point in all of their respective careers. All three have put up better numbers in terms of goals/assists/points per game and are better possession players than Boedker, especially Hanzal and Wheeler.
Joey Versen: I'd give that title to Briere right now, and also include the players Carl mentioned. However, Boedker still has plenty of time to make a case for himself. Lest we forget, he is only 24, even though he's seemingly been around forever. Last year's breakout combined with this year's hot start is extremely promising and I'm excited to see how he progresses.
Seth: Best drafted? No, Turris and Wheeler are better by most measuring sticks, and maybe even Briere. Best homegrown guy still with the team, though? I still think a healthy Martin Hanzal might be more valuable just given the position he plays. But Boedker has been one step shy of a true 1W, with that last step being production. If this season is his true ascension, than this answer will be different by the end of the season.
Christopher: No he is not. Turris is currently better as is Wheeler as much as it stings to say so. Hanzal is a better all around player, although Boedker's ceiling is higher if he continues the growth he has exhibited so far. Remember, as long as Boedker has been in the league, he is still only 24 and just now entering his prime years. He might pass the others in the next year or so, but right now the objective answer is "no."
As a pending RFA, what type of deal should Boedker get either in-season or during the offseason?
Carl Pavlock (Beta): With the cap ceiling expecting to go up I expect the price for RFAs to shoot up as well, so this is pretty difficult to say. If they could get Boedker locked in long-term, I think that would be a great thing and he is definitely in line for a raise. I would be happy with getting him in at an average of $4-$5 million a year long-term.
Alpha: What type of deal he gets depends on what the Dane and the franchise are looking for. If the Coyotes want to buy UFA years it will raise the price. Of course, very likely less than if they let him get to UFA status and then try to sign him to another contract. In addition, both sides get security. Unless it's a short two-year deal again, I would expect his salary to jump up significantly from the $2.8 million he's making this season. I think you are likely looking somewhere around $4 million a year. If anyone benefitted from Radim Vrbata's exit it's Boedker. The team's paucity of scorers increases his value. I suspect the sides will settle on a four or five year deal.
Joey: I would expect the Coyotes to try to lock him up for at least a few years, most likely more than two-year deal. The team certainly isn't in any position to be stingy when it comes to its scorers, so I'd say something in the vicinity of a four year, $15 million deal, that being a conservative estimate. Continued impressive play will obviously only increase Boedker's bargaining power.
Seth: Something fat. And I don't think Maloney and the management should be stingy about it. When Boedker signed the two-year deal two offseasons ago, it had the true makings of a "prove-it deal". Well, Boedker has done his part at this point in time. The team can't afford to have another Kyle Turris incident, so I'm all for paying Boedker big money. If Boedker pots 30 this year, something like five-year, $25 million seems fair for the Great Dane. I think it all depends on how he produces this season.
Will he, or another Coyote, get another hat trick this season?
Christopher: Yes. The Coyotes seem to get one surprise hat trick every year under Tippett, most memorably Ed Jovonovski's three goal bender and of course the Captain's against the Isles. So I think the Yotes add another this year, and I predict it will be Erat, who will total last season's output in one contest sometime this year.
Alpha: While the Coyotes are no offensive juggernaut, nor have we traveled back to the mid 80's when seemingly every NHL player could net a hat trick on any given night, the Edmonton Oilers are on schedule four more times this season, so I'll go with 'yes'.
Seth: The Coyotes had three hatties last year, and have had at least one every season since 1997. Over the course of an 82-game season, I think it's only bound to happen. If Boedker were to get three more hat tricks all by himself, than he would pass Keith Tkachuk for most in a season by a Coyote since moving to the Grand Canyon State. I think that's a more interesting phenomenon to track.
Jordan: Probably. These things always seem to happen periodically and don't always come from likely sources. Here are the 'Yotes who have recorded hat tricks since the lockout: Radim Vrbata (3), Antoine Vermette (2), Peter Mueller (2), Steve Reinprecht (2), Shane Doan, Ray Whitney, Lee Stempniak , Vernon Fiddler, Ed Jovanovski (completely shocking even to Ed), Scottie Upshall, Martin Hanzal (fastest in 'Yotes history), Daniel Carcillo, Jeremy Roenick, and Ladislav Nagy. So, yeah, I'd guess we will probably see one or two more this year (Coyotes seem to average about 3 per season), but there's absolutely no telling who will record it.