Mikkel Boedker

Is Mikkel Boedker about to turn his season around?

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AP

Is Mikkel Boedker about to turn his season around?

Mikkel Boedker’s assist in Tuesday night’s win over the Montreal Canadiens was an example of why the San Jose Sharks signed him last summer.

He used his speed in transition against a reeling Habs defense to create a quality look off of an odd-man rush, and Marc-Edouard Vlasic was able to bury the ensuing rebound. The problem is that those moments are becoming increasingly rare.

Boedker’s only shot on goal and only shot attempt on Tuesday night came in the aforementioned Vlasic goal. That’s become all too common for the Danish forward this season.

He’s attempting shot attempts during five-on-five play at the second-lowest rate of his career, according to Corsica Hockey, and is generating about one-and-a-half fewer shots every 60 minutes at even strength. Combine that with a career-low five-on-five shooting percentage (3.23 percent), and Boedker’s on pace for one of the worst offensive seasons of his career.

As disappointing as Boedker was last season, he only scored two fewer goals at even strength than he did the season before hit free agency, and one fewer point playing five aside. His five-on-five shot attempt rate was the highest of his career, and his shot rate was the second-highest.

Of course, he was also healthy. Boedker played in all but one game last season, but has missed seven already this season with a lower body injury.

It appears that he’s just starting to get over what ailed him. After going shotless, pointless, and playing fewer than nine minutes a night in his first two games back from injury, Boedker generated seven total shots, two assists, and played more than 10 minutes in his last four.  

Only once before this season has Boedker shot at least once in four (or more) consecutive games, and that was about a month before he went on injured reserve. The Sharks are tremendously tight-lipped when it comes to disclosing injuries, so it’s fair to wonder how long he was playing hurt.

So even as Boedker hasn’t bounced back in the way he or San Jose wanted, his recent play is fairly encouraging, as the Sharks desperately need him. He may not be used in a top-nine role, but with Barclay Goodrow injured, Jannik Hansen struggling, and Danny O’Regan not quite ready for a roster spot, the Sharks don’t have any viable alternatives for Boedker’s spot in the lineup.

With two years and a $4 million cap hit remaining on his deal, Boedker won’t net much on the trade market, either. So, the Sharks have little choice but to rely on him to contribute.

If plays like his assist against Montreal become more frequent, San Jose won't mind having to do so.

Sharks activate Boedker, send down rookie defenseman

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Sharks activate Boedker, send down rookie defenseman

The San Jose Sharks got a boost to their injured forward group to begin the week. 

The Sharks activated winger Mikkel Boedker from Injured Reserve on Monday. The 28-year-old forward missed the last seven games with an undisclosed injury.

Boedker scored only one point in the 12 games prior to his absence. He's in the second year of a four-year contract he signed last offseason, and is coming off his worst offensive season since 2011-12. 

His return, as well as Joonas Donskoi's last week, gets the Sharks a bit closer to full strength up front. Barclay Goodrow remains on Injured Reserve, while Logan Couture left San Jose's loss on Saturday with a head injury, and will not play Monday. 

In a corresponding move, the Sharks sent rookie defenseman Joakim Ryan down to the AHL's San Jose Barracuda. Ryan played 24 games in his first stint with the Sharks, but has not played since December 7. 

Ryan's demotion opens up a spot on the Sharks blueline for Paul Martin, who remains on a two-week conditioning assignment with the Barracuda. The 36-year-old has one assist in four games during his AHL stint. 

Report: Sharks 'trying to deal' three players

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USATSI

Report: Sharks 'trying to deal' three players

San Jose Sharks general manager Doug Wilson has never been one to shy away from a trade. Reportedly, he’s already looking to move three players 10 games into the season.

Wilson’s been “trying to deal” two of the team’s most recent free agent signings: Winger Mikkel Boedker, and defenseman Paul Martin, according to the Ottawa Sun’s Bruce Garrioch. Center Chris Tierney is also on the trade block, according to Garrioch.

Boedker signed a four-year, $16 million contract with San Jose last summer, but has been a disappointment since. He scored 26 points in 81 games, his worst per-game scoring output since 2011-12. The Danish forward carries a $4 million cap hit, but is only owed $3.8 million in salary this season, and $3 million the next two.

Martin’s been a reliable partner in Brent Burns’ ascent to the league’s elite, but will turn 37 this season. He’s currently on injured reserve due to an ankle injury stemming from offseason surgery.

In his absence, rookie defenseman Joakim Ryan has filled in, and played well in the process. Martin is signed for the next two seasons at a cap hit of $4.85 million, and his contract carries a modified no-trade clause. As a result, Martin can’t be traded to any of the teams on his six-team list.

Tierney’s signed for the shortest time and the lowest cap hit of the trio, and is set to become a restricted free agent this summer. The 23-year-old set career-highs in goals (11), points (23), and games played (80) last season, and is currently the team’s third-line center after Tomas Hertl’s move back to the wing.

The Canadian center is receiving “mild interest” from teams around the league, according to Garrioch.