Boedker tops list of disappointing Sharks depth forwards

Boedker tops list of disappointing Sharks depth forwards

SAN JOSE – The Sharks didn’t make any blockbuster moves last summer, content to make another run in 2016-17 with largely the same group that came within two wins of capturing the Stanley Cup.

They still acquired a notable player, though, when Mikkel Boedker was signed on July 1 to add an element that the Sharks knew they needed more of moving forward – speed. Boedker was expected to make the team faster, after the Sharks were exposed for not having enough of that against Pittsburgh in the NHL’s final round, as well as play in a top six role. 

At the time, it was hailed as a slick, under-the-radar move that wasn’t going to change the dynamic of the club but could help push it over the top.

When Boedker was a healthy scratch in games three and four of the first round against Edmonton, the evidence became clear, though, that this was a decision that fell flat on its face. 

Frankly, Boedker – who is signed for three more years with a $4 million salary cap hit – brings back visions of Sharks bust Marty Havlat. You know the skill is there, but the desire to use it on a nightly basis while showing any semblance of a battle level is lacking. 

Should the Sharks give Boedker another chance next season, or should they do everything in their power to try and move him? That’s a question that will likely be debated in the front office over the next several weeks.

On get-away day on Monday, indications were that the Sharks were planning on sticking with the 27-year-old, who finished with 26 points in the regular season (10g, 16a) and added one goal and one assist in four games in the playoffs.

“He has the things we’re looking for: his career scoring average, his speed, [penalty killing] ability,” general manager Doug Wilson said. “Did he meet the expectations that he had for himself [or] that we had for him? No. Can we get that out of him? Pete [DeBoer] believes we can.”

DeBoer has known Boedker since he played for him in 2007-08 in Kitchener (OHL). Despite scratching him in the playoffs, DeBoer said he saw “huge improvement” in Boedker throughout the course of the season after the forward spent nearly all of his NHL career in Arizona.

“There was an adjustment. He’s played 6-7 years a certain way in the NHL,” DeBoer said. “We’ve asked him to play differently here, and there was an adjustment.”

Boedker still believes that he can be a fit in San Jose.

“I think it will be and it can be,” he said. “It’s learning period, but you’ve also got to look in the mirror yourself and see what you can change and what assets you need to bring. I’ve learned a lot, and I’m ready to do that.”

The list of Sharks depth forwads that had frustrating seasons hardly begins and ends with Boedker, though.

Veteran Joel Ward’s production dipped from 43 points last season to 29 in 2016-17, although that probably isn’t too surprising considering he’s 36. Tomas Hertl is proving to be a streaky player, too, although his season was interrupted by another a knee injury.

The bigger disappointment came from players like Chris Tierney and Joonas Donskoi, who both made big impressions in the 2016 playoffs but struggled to produce consistent offense this year. Both were mentioned by name by DeBoer on Monday.

There are some promising youngsters in the pipeline like Timo Meier, Kevin Labanc and Marcus Sorensen, but it’s still too early to project any of them as can’t-miss scorers at the NHL level.

“I think we’ve got a large group of guys that I like, but need to step up,” DeBoer said. “Is Sorensen [like] Donskoi next year, where he takes a step back, or [does he take a] step forward? We’ve got a lot of guys that there’s a lot of potential there – Chris Tierney. 

“There’s a lot of those guys, but they need to have big summers and take a step, and show that they’re not just one season or one month players.”

Instant Replay: Sharks outlasted by Oilers, must win final two games

Instant Replay: Sharks outlasted by Oilers, must win final two games

BOX SCORE

EDMONTON – The Oilers erased a two-goal deficit in regulation and David Desharnais scored in overtime as Edmonton downed the Sharks in Game 5 of their first round playoff series at Rogers Place, 4-3.
 
The Oilers can advance to the second round on Saturday in San Jose, while the Sharks will attempt to force a decisive Game 7 back in Edmonton.
 
At 18:15 of overtime, Desharnais cut towards the net and directed in a saucer pass from Leon Draisaitl.
 
Prior to the overtime goal, Martin Jones made a number of remarkable saves to keep it tied. He stopped Draisaitl alone in the slot, closing his five hole, and dove back with his stick to deny Ryan Nugent-Hopkins who was trying to poke in his own rebound. Later, he stretched from his right to his left in denying Connor McDavid with a left pad on a two-on-one.
 
Edmonton outshot the Sharks 14-2 in overtime, and 48-30 for the game.
 
The Sharks held a 2-1 edge after the first period, and increased that lead in the second. Just two seconds after Patrick Maroon stepped out of the penalty box, a place he’s become familiar with in the series, David Schlemko’s point shot fluttered into the top corner with Tomas Hertl setting a screen at 8:38.
 
It was the second straight game that the defenseman scored a goal, after the Edmonton native’s miscue led to the only goal in Game 3.
 
The Oilers got one back late in the frame. On a power play, Draisaitl directed a pass through traffic to a cutting Mark Letestu, who had an empty net to flip it home to make it a 3-2 game with 1:27 left in the second period.
 
Shots were hard to come by in the third period, as the Sharks attempted to play back in an attempt to run out the clock. Edmonton tied it with 2:46 to go, though, when Desharnais teed up Oscar Klefbom for a heavy one-timer from the top of the circle that cleanly beat Martin to the far side.
 
As expected, Edmonton came out with the early energy. Milan Lucic threw a couple of big hits, including on Logan Couture in first minute, and later Maroon flattened Brent Burns in the corner.
 
The Oilers also got the game’s first goal, courtesy of Maroon, who buried a Matt Benning rebound on Jones at 5:28.
 
After the Oilers hit three posts, including two by Darnell Nurse and another by Jordan Eberle, San Jose took control of the first. Mikkel Boedker, who was a healthy scratch in games three and four, buried a Chris Tierney pass on a two-on-one rush at 10:12 to tie the score.
 
Another Sharks odd man rush, thanks in part to a bad line change by Edmonton, resulted in a Patrick Marleau goal at 15:52. Joe Thornton wound up and fired a slap shot that Marleau slammed home after Cam Talbot couldn’t keep the Thornton blast from sneaking behind him.
 
The Sharks are 22-22 all-time in overtime in the playoffs, including 1-1 this series.
 
The Sharks fell to 16-17 all-time in Game 5s, including 6-12 on the road. San Jose is just 1-10 all-time when trailing in a series, three games to two.
 
According to Elias, the winner of Game 5 in a best-of-seven series that was tied at two games apiece goes on to win the series 78.1 percent of the time (193-54). 
 
Thursday marked the two-year anniversary of the Sharks and Oilers head coach Todd McLellan parting ways after seven seasons.
 
Special teams 
 
Officially the Sharks finished 0-for-1 on the power play, although Schlemko’s marker was essentially still a five-on-four. San Jose is 5-for-23 in the series, with four of those goals coming in Game 4.
 
Edmonton is now 2-for-15 in the series, going 1-for-3 in Game 5.
 
In goal
 
Jones, who has played every minute of the series, fell to 16-13 in overtime with 44 saves.
 
Talbot, who was pulled in Game 4 after allowing five goals, made 27 saves.
 
Lineup
 
To make way for Boedker, Joonas Donskoi was a healthy scratch for the first time. Donskoi, who had 12 points in 24 playoff games last season, has one assist and a minus-3 rating in four games this year.
 
Draisaitl played after he escaped suspension for spearing Tierney in Game 4.
 
Up next
 
The Sharks and Oilers go back to San Jose for Game 6 on Saturday (7:30 p.m.), while Game 7, if necessary, would be at Rogers Place on Monday, April 24.
 
The Anaheim Ducks, who swept the Calgary Flames in the first round, await the winner in the second round.

NHL Gameday: Sharks' Boedker appears to be in; McDavid slumping

NHL Gameday: Sharks' Boedker appears to be in; McDavid slumping

Programming note – Sharks-Oilers coverage starts today at 7:00 p.m. with Sharks Pregame Live on NBC Sports California

SERIES SCHEDULE

The best-of-seven series is tied, two games apiece.

Game 1: Sharks 3, Oilers 2 (OT)
Game 2: Oilers 2, Sharks 0
Game 3: Oilers 1, Sharks 0
Game 4: Sharks 7, Oilers 0
Game 5: Thursday, April 20, Sharks @ Oilers (7:30 p.m.)
Game 6: Saturday, April 22, Oilers @ Sharks (7:30 p.m.)
*Game 7: Monday, April 24, Sharks @ Oilers (TBD)

* - if necessary

PREGAME NEWS AND NOTES

***The Sharks will apparently make one lineup change, as Mikkel Boedker will replace Joonas Donskoi, who remained on the practice ice late with the other scratches. Boedker has sat out the previous two games, and is scoreless with a minus-one rating. Donskoi has one assist and a minus-three rating in four games.

***After they were shut out in games two and three, the Sharks’ offense came alive in a 7-0 beat down of the Oilers in Game 4 at SAP Center. Joe Pavelski and Logan Couture had two goals apiece, and the Sharks went 4-for-8 on the power play. It was the most lopsided Sharks playoff win in franchise history.

The Sharks scored seven goals in a playoff win for the third time in playoff history. They’ve lost the two previous series in which that’s occurred – 1999 vs. Colorado, and 2014 vs. Los Angeles.

***Edmonton’s Leon Draisaitl earned a fine but escaped suspension for his spearing of Chris Tierney, and will be back in the lineup tonight on Connor McDavid’s wing. The league’s eighth-leading scorer in the regular season has no points through four games.

***McDavid still has yet to break through in the series, with just one shorthanded goal and a secondary assist on the power play. Held off the scoresheet in games three and four, he has never gone three straight games in his NHL career without a point.

***April 20 marks the two-year anniversary that the Sharks fired head coach Todd McLellan and assistants Jay Woodcroft and Jim Johnson. All are now with the Oilers.

***Martin Jones’ shutout in Game 4 was his first since the 2016 playoffs, when he had three during the Sharks’ lengthy run. 

KEEP AN EYE ON...

Sharks: Mikkel Boedker. Assuming he draws back in, Boedker will be trying to make an impact after he was a healthy scratch in games three and four. The 26-year-old was a healthy scratch once in the regular season on Jan. 5, and responded with four goals in his next two games - including a hat trick in Edmonton on Jan. 10. There were no hints as to which line he would play on, but skating with Logan Couture and Jannik Hansen is probably the likliest place.

Oilers: Patrick Maroon. While McDavid’s struggles have been in the spotlight, his linemate, Maroon, has done even less. The winger is scoreless in four games with a minus-two rating, has taken some bad penalties, and will apparently be skating on the third line tonight.

PROBABLE LINES

Sharks
Patrick Marleau – Joe Thornton – Joe Pavelski
Mikkel Boedker – Logan Couture – Jannik Hansen
Melker Karlsson – Tomas Hertl – Timo Meier
Marcus Sorensen – Chris Tierney – Joel Ward

Paul Martin – Brent Burns
Marc-Edouard Vlasic – Justin Braun
Brenden Dillon – David Schlemko

Martin Jones (starter)
Aaron Dell

Oilers
Drake Caggiula – Connor McDavid – Leon Draisaitl
Milan Lucic – Ryan Nugent-Hopkins – Jordan Eberle
Patrick Maroon – Mark Letestu – Zack Kassian
Benoit Pouliot – David Desharnais – Anton Slepyshev

Oscar Klefbom – Adam Larsson
Andrej Sekera – Kris Russell
Darnell Nurse – Matt Benning

Cam Talbot (starter)
Laurent Brossoit

INJURIES

Sharks: None.

Oilers: Tyler Pitlick (torn ACL) is out.

SHARKS PLAYOFF RECORD WHEN…

The Sharks are 6-9 all-time when a series is tied at two games apiece. They are 9-3 all-time when leading a series three games to two, and 1-10 all-time when trailing three-games-to-two.

The Sharks have an all-time Game 5 record of 16-16, including 6-11 on the road.

QUOTEABLE

“Their big boys stepped and had a game. It’s up to us, especially our key guys, to step up and have a game for our hockey club. I don’t think we’ve stepped up yet in this series. We get an opportunity to do that in Game 5 at home.” - Milan Lucic