The Contrarian – He is a Goner

Demetri Fragopoulos

2016-01-03

Will Mikkel Boedker be shopped at the trade deadline if the Coyotes can't sign him soon?

Happy New Year everyone! I hope that you had a wonderful holiday season. It is amazing how the changing of a date can reset your expectations for a fantasy pool.

If you are in the thick of things, you intensify your daily routine to find players that will make a difference before your competitors do.

If you are out of it, well then you start preparing for the next year or the next draft.

NHL clubs are doing the very same thing too as Lyle Richardson points out in this THN article. The main focus is on the Arizona Coyotes’ Mikkel Boedker.

If the Coyotes think they are in a playoff hunt, then they will try to resign the unrestricted free agent forward. This is possible now because it is the calendar year 2016.

If they do not believe that they have a chance to make the playoffs or if they feel he will not resign with them, then he is trade bait.

Richardson’s work is based on the comments of ESPN’s Craig Custance. Unfortunately, I am not an ESPN Insider, so I infer that Custance believes that Boedker will be traded. Richardson, in his Spector’s Hockey site, reiterates that it is more likely that Arizona keep him because Shane Doan will not be around after this season if his salary demands are too high. He feels that an average deal worth $5.5 million would be reasonable.

What to do? What to do?

Like most of you in dynasty or keeper leagues, you fall into similar circumstances. Do you keep a player that is already on your roster by protecting/resigning him and therefore release other players to do so? Do you bite the bullet and let him leave, or can you scrape up a deal that might get you something in exchange for a player you are willing to let walk away?

Making up your mind can be tricky.

As Jimmy Adams of The Sportster writes about his top 15 players who will benefit from huge deals this summer, Boedker (number 10 on his list) is going to be 26 years old.

Back in the summer when he and the Coyotes agreed to a one-year deal, Mitch Kasprick of Arizona Hockey Talk commented that, “Mikkel Boedker and his camp filed for arbitration but then a couple days later agreed to terms on a one year deal which tells me they were WAY OFF with their contract demands.  Make no mistake about it, right now he is probably the Coyotes best young forward. That being said, he is a LONG LONG way from being an elite NHLer.”

Kasprick continues “He has all the tools but he is still wildly inconsistent and prone to long periods of not getting results.  If and I say if, he was looking for a huge payday I believe he was barking up the wrong tree and I applaud Coyotes GM Don Maloney for not caving into unrealistic contract demands.” Nowadays players want big money and long term before they have earned it,” and “I like Mikkel Boedker and I believe he will get paid but he is going to have to perform before the Arizona Coyotes ‘show him the money’”.

One other item that he points out was that last year Boedker had to have his spleen removed, which obviously factored into the one-year deal.

In the first another two articles by Richardson (Spector’s Hockey), he emphasizes that Boedker will likely return to the Coyotes because they will have money available to spend on retaining him to become cap compliant. In the second (Bleacher Report) he makes note of the spleen injury and the potential big payoff this summer if he plays as well as he was anticipated to.

This season with 30 points in 37 games, he is doing quite well for both himself and the club, but he is at risk of being lost. Hindsight is always going to be 20/20, but if his contract demand were so high back then, imagine what they could be now. Irrational spending on a single player to become cap compliant is not wise.

Unlike Richardson I feel that he will not be a Coyote past this season, and it is for reasons best illustrated by Sebastian Noren from Today’s Slapshot before the one-year contract in July was agreed to.

“The Coyotes don’t have the luxury of souring this relationship with Boedker, and fans better pray that this gets worked out before it hits arbitration in late July or early August. Because if it doesn’t, why should Boedker agree to sign a new deal next summer? Why would he sign with a team that first signs him to a bridge deal and tells him to produce, and when he does produce, still doesn’t reward him with a long-term deal and a significant pay raise?” said Noren.

Has their relationship soured? We do not know yet. It does not look like it, but even if Boedker has reasonable salary demands he can still leave. It is all part of becoming unrestricted.

It reminds me of the Jiri Hudler and Valtteri Filppula situations. Both bolted from the Detroit Red Wings when they had an opportunity to do so, and neither relationship seemed to have been terribly strained.

If Boedker plays for another team, would that be bad for you and me? (Disclosure, I have Boedker in my keeper league.) Maybe. Depends on which team he goes to and what role he plays. Moving to a new team does not always equate to a wonderful explosion of points… see Phil Kessel as one example, sigh.

Optically, it would be awful for the Coyotes to lose him because of his age and of his talent, but would it be truly bad for Arizona?

It can work out to their benefit only if they follow the Detroit plan and build from within. If they continue to build through the draft and develop their younger players, the loss of one player could give the opportunity and ice time to several others that bloom even brighter than Boedker.

The gamble is, should their scouting staff be trusted? If they fail, they will all be goners.

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