The Sharks didn’t have much cap space to work with, but GM Doug Wilson worked his magic again and found a way to a bring a big name free agent to the Bay Area.
Earlier today, the San Jose Sharks added defenseman David Schlemko to shore up and provide depth to the back end. At the time, we thought that may have been the biggest move of the day as the Sharks had little wiggle room in terms of cap space.
However, the front office – led by GM Doug Wilson – had different thoughts. Friday afternoon, the Sharks signed free agent winger Mikkel Boedker, agreeing on a four-year, $16 million deal according to ESPN’s Pierre LeBrun.
Barring an unlikely Patrick Marleau retirement, the Sharks will bring back their entire top six forward group next season, the same six who led their team to a Stanley Cup Final, but that wasn’t good enough for Wilson and company.
Boedker is more than an average player; he is a legitimate top-six forward and one who has improved every season as a professional. He has tallied 225 points in 463 career NHL games, including 51 last season with the Arizona Coyotes and Colorado Avalanche and 51 back in the 2013-14 campaign with the ‘Yotes.
The Danish winger spent seven-and-a-half years of his eight-year career with the Coyotes organization before a midseason trade to the Avalanche last year. The former eighth overall pick in the 2008 draft scored 12 points in 18 games with Colorado last season, often on the top line, and is a good player in the offensive zone with fine playmaking abilities.
Boedker was used heavily by both Arizona and Colorado last season on the power-play, registering an incredible 296 minutes on the man advantage, scoring 14 points during that time.
While the line he’ll play on is totally up in the air, he will definitely be in the top nine and be counted on to contribute offensively, giving San Jose more scoring options. Furthermore, whatever line he does end up skating on, he will give his center an offensive-minded, natural winger, something the Sharks lack aside from Joe Pavelski, Patrick Marleau and Joel Ward.
His work in the other two zones aren’t overly impressive, but one thing the Pittsburgh series showed is the Sharks need more offensive fire-power to consistently beat a team such as the Stars or Penguins, and this signing gives team teal more of that. With playmaking centers galore on this roster in Pavelski, Logan Couture and more, Boedker has 25-goal potential if he stays healthy.
The contract itself seems like the perfect dollar amount and length of time for Boedker, who is still just in his mid-20’s and has a lot of time left in the NHL.
The Sharks have just under $3 million in cap space to work with now, but they still have to focus on re-signing restricted free agents Dylan DeMelo and Matt Nieto, although Nieto’s situation looks much foggier at this point now that the Sharks brought in another winger.
After one, or both of those moves, San Jose will be left with almost no spending money; however after today’s two acquisitions, there’s not much more altering that has to be done with this phenomenal roster.