Mikkel Boedker needs three goals over the next 15 games for the Arizona Coyotes to match his output from last season. Given his track record this season, he may only need one game to do it.
Boedker is currently tied for 25th in the NHL in goals, ahead of noted NHL snipers like Ryan O'Reilly, Nathan MacKinnon, Patrick Sharp, and Corey Perry. And his $3.75M contract is below the cost of Matt Beleskey, David Perron, Ales Hemsky, and T.J. Oshie.
So, what do the Coyotes do with their pending UFA in the middle of a career year?
The soon to be 26 year old stands a very good chance of cashing in on a big money deal with term. He has a more proven track record than Matt Beleskey, and the only UFA who will be younger than him come summertime is Steven Stamkos, who is likely going to choose between a boatload of money in Tampa or a boatload of money in Toronto.
The Coyotes will probably not let Boedker go without a fight; Arizona attempted to make a deal work with Radim Vrbata, but ultimately the question of no-trade/no-movement clauses was enough to cause Vrbata to bolt to Vancouver. It's possible a similar situation happens with Boedker.
Arizona may be in a better leveraged position this time around however. Max Domi and Anthony Duclair are off to stellar rookie campaigns, and Dylan Strome, Christian Dvorak, and Brendan Perlini, and Nick Merkley will be knocking on the door for roster spots over the next 2-3 seasons. The Coyotes have no shortage of offensive prospects, but relatively few roster spots to hand out.
Mikkel Boedker has established himself as a bona fide top-six forward. He would make a tremendous veteran presence in what promises to be a very talented but young future up front. And with relatively few expensive contracts coming up soon, the Coyotes could afford to pay a bit extra over the next few years.
But if the term is not right, or the dollar value is too much, the Coyotes should look to get as much out of their asset as possible now, take a shot at bringing him back this summer, and letting the chips fall where they may from there.
- This article presupposes that the Coyotes will be sellers this season. I don't know if that will be the case, but they shouldn't be renting players.
- Speaking of rental players, Andrew Ladd, Dustin Byfuglien, and Jacob Trouba are reportedly asking for a combined $152 million on their next contracts. Pricey.
- Byfuglien specifically is asking the Jets for $55 million over eight year. He will be 31 by the end of the year, so even if the dollar number came down, a seven to eight year deal is a hard pass.
- Even with three points in their last two games, the Coyotes have surrendered 30 goals in their last seven games. If they're a playoff team, it's only because the Pacific Division is so anemic this year.
- How bad is the Pacific? Los Angeles - the division leader - is second in the conference with 40 points. Arizona - currently in 2nd place in the Pacific - is 8th in the conference. In a conference based playoff scheme, the Central Division would send six teams to the postseason, while the Pacific would send two.
- Rounding out the bottom of the Western Conference is...the Anaheim Ducks. Just like we all predicted when the season started.
- The Ducks have scored six fewer goals than the 29th ranked offense in the league (Philadelphia). Their 5v5 shooting percentage is a paltry 4.9%, lower than any team since 2009-10. That's unsustainably bad.
- The nightmare scenario that we have to now consider is that Anaheim stays rotten all season, and then wins the right to draft Arizona born Auston Matthews. That might jump-start the offense a tad wouldn't it?
- Arizona has three players this season with 10+ goals. In all of last year, they had six.
- While Domi, Duclair, and Boedker have all cracked the double-digit mark, the next closest are Oliver Ekman-Larsson, Tobias Rieder, and Shane Doan with six, and Martin Hanzal with five.