GLENDALE – Coyotes forward Mikkel Boedker is quietly having his best offensive season in the NHL.
Boedker notched a goal and an assist on Tuesday vs. Calgary and established a new career high for points in a season (29) in just 42 games. He is co-leading the Coyotes with 13 goals, the most he has scored in one NHL season. He scored 11 goals twice before: as a rookie in 2008-09 (78 games) and again in 2011-12 (82 games).
“It’s a team sport and we’re all team guys in our room, but it’s been going well for me personally and it’s nice to see those pucks going in the net,” said Boedker, 24, who is two games shy of the 300-game milestone.
Boedker, who entered the season with 34 career goals in 256 NHL games, credits Assistant Coach Newel Brown for helping him evolve into a more prolific goal scorer.
“It helps a lot to sit and watch video with him and then go out before or after practice and work with him on what we saw,” Boedker said. “He’s helping me to get more creative in front of the goal and to get it into my head that sometimes you have to be a little bit selfish when you have an opening to score. We’ve talked about taking an open shot instead of looking for the perfect pass. It seems to be working so far but I need to keep working on it. He’s got my back so we’ll keep working together and hopefully keep this going.”
Brown says Boedker is an excellent student of the game.
“He wants to learn and he’s real hungry to develop himself as a player and to take that next step,” Brown said. “He’s confident with the puck and he’s now thinking shoot first, pass second, which is good because he has a very good shot. And he’s found areas where he can shoot the puck instead of passing.”
A big part of that is Boedker’s switch from left wing to right wing – which sounds odd because Boedker is a left-handed shot. Boedker and Head Coach Dave Tippett decided to make the switch from left to right before a game in San Jose in early November and it has worked out well.
“He’s just looks more comfortable over there,” Tippett said. “Sometimes it’s hard for a player to play the off side but he feels more natural over there and it’s been a good fit for him.”
Boedker says the move was not a big change.
“I grew up playing on the right side so I prefer playing on the right,” Boedker said. “Believe it or not it’s much easier for me. I can be more creative and there are more opportunities to make a good play or get the puck in deep. It’s helped me a lot.”