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The Daily Chum: What’s wrong with Mikkel Boedker?

The free agent acquisition was benched in the third period on Saturday.

NHL: Chicago Blackhawks at San Jose Sharks Stan Szeto-USA TODAY Sports

“For some guys it was circumstance. Other guys just didn’t deserve to play,” Pete DeBoer said of benching Micheal Haley, Ryan Carpenter and Mikkel Boedker in the third period.

Let me roll with a slightly unconventional take: That should be seen as a criticism of who DeBoer dressed for the game as much as it is very obviously a criticism of Boedker. Listen, if you have players in the lineup you don’t trust at all while down a goal, that’s on you.

And yes, even with a lineup depleted by injury, DeBoer has other options. Besides, Haley was getting ice time before the injuries, so it’s not exactly like he’s been pressed into service. Anyway, that’s a less pressing issue than the two goals Boedker has scored this year.

It’s only 20 games and scorers are by nature streaky, but his 20 shots on goal don’t suggest Boedker is slumping. It seems he’s just not generating offense at the same rate he has in seasons past, whether that’s do to a poor fit or skills regressing or some sort of mystical force crushing his desire to shoot the puck.

Or, that’s what it looks like until you dig a little deeper. While Boedker is putting pucks on net at the second-lowest rate in his career (4.42 shots per 60 minutes at even strength per he’s certainly attempting to put pucks on net. His individual shot attempts per 60 (11.29) is the second-highest of his career. That holds true with his unblocked shot attempts, too.

So what’s the deal? Perhaps Boedker needs glasses, or maybe he’s just been spectacularly unlucky. Whatever the reason for him not hitting the net, it’s not where he’s shooting from as the below graphs from illustrate:

Mikkel Boedker’s even strength shot attempt locations.

Obviously he took more shots over the eight year span on the left than the quarter season on the right, but if you look at where the majority of shots came from you’ll see a lot of similarities. The darkest part on both charts is right around the net (that’s good) and up near the points (also good). So that’s not it.

Boedker also has more scoring chances per 60 minutes than he has at any other point in his career and his expected goals per 60 minutes is also at a career high. So while at first glance his shooting percentage suggests a reasonable amount of luck, a deeper dig into his stats suggests he might be so unlucky he’s not even putting the puck on the net.

Or, it’s perhaps all these advanced stats i’m comfortable using for all other players don’t apply to Boedker. That he’s purposely missing the net or he actually forgot that’s the point of hockey games. No, my guess is that Boedker will start finding the back of the net (uh, after he finds the actual net) and things will be okay.

I hope.