It sounds more and more like Mikkel Boedker's days as a member of the Arizona Coyotes are numbered:
LeBrun: "The clock is ticking and Arizona will not allow itself to let (Boedker) go through deadline w/o being signed or traded." #Coyotes— Chris Nichols (@NicholsOnHockey) February 17, 2016
LeBrun on Boedker: "They've made a few offers to his camp, and they've been - as far as I can tell - rejected." #Coyotes— Chris Nichols (@NicholsOnHockey) February 17, 2016
LeBrun: "It's looking more and more like traded at this point" for Boedker, versus being re-signed by #Coyotes.— Chris Nichols (@NicholsOnHockey) February 17, 2016
With no apparent progress on a new contract, and with unrestricted free agency looming, it makes sense that a Coyotes team that's still within sniffing distance of the playoffs might part with a top six winger. And given that so few teams seem like sellers, the market is likely pretty good.
So who might be interested in acquiring the Dane's services? Taylor Baird - Managing Editor of Defending Big D - thinks the Dallas Stars might be one such suitor. What does she think the Stars need? And how much are they willing to pay for Boeds?
Deficiencies in Dallas
Baird is upfront about what Dallas needs to become a true Stanley Cup contender.
Dallas needs a couple of pieces to be really scary in the post season.1) A shutdown defenseman. The Stars have plenty of puck movers on the back end, but are lacking that one big minute shutdown man.2) A secondary power play threat. The Stars might have one of the best power plays in the league, but lately it's been converting at a slower pace than the blistering 30ish% from early in the season. Dallas has a bit of a mishmash on the second power play unit and could use a versatile forward to slot in there. There is a massive drop-off between the first power play unit (of which, most of those guys have double-digit power play units) and the second unit (which tops out at just 5 power play points, an 8-point difference).3) Defensively responsible top 9 forward and penalty kill specialist. Killing a penalty versus another team has become an adventure lately, with the Stars giving up too many high danger chances.
Mikkel Boedker is not going to satisfy the first or third need, but his two goals and 15 assists on the power play fits the second need perfectly. A second unit slot would also theoretically put Boedker up against less versatile PK squads, which might also boost his production.
Make Me an Offer
So what does Baird think is a fair offer for Boedker's services?
The Stars could likely look to do a 1-for-1 player swap. Arizona gets Ales Hemsky, who has one more year on his contract remaining. He's got some wheels to keep up with explosive guys like Max Domi and Anthony Duclair, and adds experience to a rather young lineup.
They also don't lose Boedker for nothing, because as a free agent he's likely going to command a pay increase over his $3.75 million cap hit this season. The Stars get to free up Hemsky's salary off of the cap for next season, allowing them to pursue that big defensemen they need to add.
Ales Hemsky should be a name familiar to many a Coyotes fan, and this author thought he might be a suitable free agent target a couple of years ago. At 32, he's no spring chicken, but he's not terribly more expensive than Boedker is now (Hemsky will make $4 million per season through 2016-17), and he's been plenty productive as a forward in Dallas, Ottawa, and Edmonton.
But this move doesn't do a whole lot more than ensure the Coyotes don't walk away from the Boedker contract situation empty-handed. He only has seven goals and 14 assists this year, which is roughly half of Boedker's 13 goals and 24 assists.
Additionally, just acquiring Hemsky doesn't really help the Coyotes moving forward. It's another spot on the wing that Arizona can't leave open for an up-and-comer like Brendan Perlini or Christian Thomas to take. And Hemsky doesn't address the team's more pressing needs on defense.
A Counter Offer
Unfortunately for the Stars, the division rival Chicago Blackhawks are probably going to prevent the Stars for getting Boedker just for Hemsky, simply because the Hawks were willing to unload Klas Dahlbeck and a 1st rounder for one summer's worth of Antoine Vermette.
So to let Boedker go I think Don Maloney is going to need a piece that he can use for the future, specifically to upgrade the team's blue-line prospects. It may take a couple more pieces to make it work for Dallas, but I think a possible counter-offer might be:
|To Dallas||To Arizona|
Grossmann - who leads all Coyotes in penalty kill time with 2:58 per game - would help Dallas address Baird's first need, while Connauton is a young defenseman with some offensive upside and a very inexpensive contract. Looke is a young forward prospect in the Swedish Hockey League that has all the makings of a two-way forward, and the Coyotes can afford to part with a prospect or two.
Arizona would get a couple of important assets out of this swap. Demers is a defenseman who can move the puck, and more importantly, is a right-handed shot. The Coyotes could afford to take on Hemsky's contract to make the finances more workable, while the first round selection (albeit late first round in all likelihood) could either let the Coyotes draft a defensive prospect to bolster their pool, or potentially make a play for a trade up, perhaps for a certain Scottsdale, Arizona native?
We don't see a ton of major moves like this nowadays, the Dion Phaneuf trade notwithstanding. And it's not clear if the Stars can afford to take on additional salary, even though the cap space is not an issue.
Still, a more aggressive move like this might help the Coyotes maximize the return they receive for Boedker, while allowing the rebuild to continue on schedule. But what do you think?