Editor's note: This article is part of an ongoing series in which Kevin Kurz will highlight a different Sharks player every weekday leading up to the start of training camp.
Name/Position: Mikkel Boedker, LW
Salary cap hit: $4 million, signed through 2019-20
2015-16 year in review: Boedker split the season between the Coyotes and Avalanche, getting traded to Colorado on Feb. 29. He finished with 51 points (17g, 34a) in 80 games between the two clubs. That tied his career high in scoring, but Boedker also finished with an NHL-worst minus-33 rating while competing for a pair of teams that missed the playoffs by a wide margin.
An unrestricted free agent, Boedker signed a four-year, $16 million contract with the Sharks on July 1.
2016-17 outlook: Sharks general manager Doug Wilson’s biggest addition could end up being one of the best under-the-radar moves in the league this offseason. Boedker should be entering the best and most productive years of his career, and figures to slot in the top six on either the left side of the Logan Couture line, or perhaps even the top line with Joe Thornton if Tomas Hertl is ready to be the third line center on a full-time basis.
Boedker’s biggest asset is his speed, which is something coach Pete DeBoer – who had Boedker in juniors – spoke about the day of the signing, saying that the 26-year-old is a “world-class skater” who “creates offense. He has his whole career.”
Boedker’s presence likely diminishes the role of a pair of players that have struggled in recent seasons in Patrick Marleau and Matt Nieto. Marleau, entering the last year of his contract, will likely start out on the third line as either the center or left wing while Nieto will have to fight to keep his place in the active lineup. Boedker should also see plenty of time on the power play, after posting 19 power play points last season. He could bump Marleau from the top unit, or give the second unit a more dangerous look.
The Denmark native will compete for Team Europe in the upcoming World Cup of Hockey.