Make It or Break It Season For Boedker


It was not that long ago that he scored two straight overtime goals against the Chicago Blackhawks, and help the Phoenix Coyotes advance to the Western Conference Finals. He is a fan favorite, but could the 2015-2016 season be his last with the team?

Mikkel Boedker was drafted by the Phoenix Coyotes in 2008. Prior to his NHL career, in 2006-2007, Boedker played on Frölunda’s junior team in Sweden at 15 years old. The team won the national junior championship and he made his debut with the Swedish Elite League.

A year before being drafted, Boedker played in the OHL with the Kitchener Rangers. He played in 62 games with 29 goals and 44 assists, scoring another nine goals in the playoffs. With numbers like that it is no surprise he was drafted 8th overall by the Coyotes.

Sep 23, 2013; Vancouver, British Columbia, CAN; Phoenix Coyotes forward Mikkel Boedker (89) at the goal against Vancouver Canucks goaltender Roberto Luongo (1) during the second period at Rogers Arena. Mandatory Credit: Anne-Marie Sorvin-USA TODAY Sports

Boedker made the Coyotes immediately and made an impact on the team. He scored his first NHL goal on October 12, 2008 against the Anaheim Ducks. In 2008-2009 he played a total 78 games with 11 goals and 17 assists. Boedker finished the season 116 shots and a 9.5 shooting percentage. The following two seasons Boedker went back and forth between the Coyotes and the team’s former AHL affiliate, San Antonio Stampede. He only scored 5 goals between the two seasons and could never completely find his grove.

In 2011-2012, like most of his teammates, Boedker had a fabulous year. He played in every regular season game, scoring 11 goals and assisting on another 13. The most memorable goals that Boedker scored were in the Coyotes long playoff run. He will always be remembered for his back-to-back overtime winning goals in Chicago. Boedker was the spark the Coyotes needed to make it to the Western Conference Finals.

Boedker had his best season in 2013-2014, where he scored 19 goals and had 32 assists. The team did not make the playoffs, but Boedker helped the team win more games then they were expected to. He was thought to have his best season in 2014-2015, but as most fans know the whole team was kind of disappointment.

Dec 4, 2014; Glendale, AZ, USA; Arizona Coyotes left wing Mikkel Boedker (89) carries the puck as Los Angeles Kings defenseman Jake Muzzin (6) defends during the third period at Gila River Arena. Mandatory Credit: Matt Kartozian-USA TODAY Sports

One of the highlights of last season was October 25, 2014 when Mikkel Boedker scored his first NHL hat trick in the Coyotes 7-4 win over the Edmonton Oilers. It was an overall terrible season for the whole team. For Boedker it was a season where he only played in 45 games, scoring only 14 goals and 14 assists. It was a season where if and when he shot the puck, he often scored. Boedker had the 29th best shooting percentage at 17.7. What really hurt Boedker was an emergency surgery that removed his spleen. He had suffered a damaged spleen in a game against the Jets in January; this ended his season very early.

In the 2015 offseason Boedker was a restricted free agent, in which the Arizona Coyotes gave him a qualifying offer, but in early July Boedker filed for salary arbitration. It was a five-month process that involved negotiating Boedker’s long-term future with the team, but then there was Glendale that really made the decision hard for both sides. With Glendale backing out of their arena agreement with the team, and the future of the Coyotes once again unclear, Boedker settled for a one-year deal. But with this one-year deal, does it mean Boedker will not return after the 2015-2016 season? Will it make him perform better because he is not guaranteed a next season?

Jan 15, 2015; Glendale, AZ, USA; Arizona Coyotes left wing Mikkel Boedker (89) skates with the puck during the first period against the Calgary Flames at Gila River Arena. The Flames won 4-1. Mandatory Credit: Allan Henry-USA TODAY Sports

The expectations put on Boedker coming in to the season will be great. Missing so much time last season and the pace that he was on has him wanting more. I would not be surprised if Boedker gets at least 20 goals, and with the addition of youth to the team, his face-paced style can be complimented. Boedker will want to show not only his teammates, but also the league that he is back and that he is a top left-winger. Look for him to prove his worth and possibly extend his contract with the Coyotes once the Glendale situation is cleared up. But if he performs below average, could the team trade him or even worse just let him go?