Numbers Game: Canucks bring in Booth

Scott Cullen

10/22/2011 11:21:47 PM

Looking for second-line scoring, the Vancouver Canucks made a deal with the Florida Panthers for a winger who creates quite a few chances with his speed.

Numbers Game examines the David Booth acquisition.

The Canucks Get: LW David Booth, C Steve Reinprecht and a third-round pick in 2013.

Booth, 26, is a tremendous skater and has generated more than three shots per game in each of the last four seasons, registering a career-best 3.41 per game last season. At 6-foot-1 and 217 pounds, Booth has the size to play a physical game.

Where Booth could be better in his finishing ability, as he's scored 31 goals on 375 shots in 2009-2010 and 2010-2011, a shooting percentage of 8.3%, which is awfully low for a scoring winger. Among forwards with at least 20 goals last season, Booth's shooting percentage of 8.2% ranked ahead of only Henrik Zetterberg and Patric Hornqvist (both at 7.9%). 

This season hasn't started well for Booth, as he's playing less -- 15:30 per game is his lowest since his rookie year (most often with Tomas Kopecky and Scottie Upshall, per the Frozen Pool line combos at and well down from last year's 18:54 per game when Peter DeBoer was calling the shots behind the Panthers' bench and not new coach Kevin Dineen.

It may be a chicken-or-the-egg situation, but with less ice time, Booth's production has dropped (or has he received less ice time because the production has dropped?) and he's managed just one assist and a minus-6 rating in six games.

In Vancouver, he'll move into a good situation, on the wing with Ryan Kesler, who was a teammate with Booth as far back as the U.S. National Development Team in 2001-2002. Kesler has skated primarily with Chris Higgins and Cody Hodgson this season, but Booth offers more immediate offence than Hodgson. Playing alongside Kesler ought to give Booth a good shot at his fourth 20-goal season and, if all breaks right with better finishing, maybe even 30 goals is possible.

Including this season, Booth has four years and $17-million left on his deal (per, a price that necessitates his contributing offensively.

Vancouver also acquired veteran Steve Reinprecht in the deal and inherited his $2.175-million salary, which is obviously rather significant for a 35-year-old playing in the AHL. As a sweetener for taking on the Reinprecht financial obligation, the Canucks also got a third-round pick in 2013.

The Panthers Get: LW Marco Sturm and RW Mikael Samuelsson.

After acquiring several wingers in the offseason -- including Tomas Fleischmann, Kris Versteeg, Scottie Upshall and Sean Bergenheim -- the Panthers have some options that were already playing more than Booth, so the newcomers don't necessarily have to move into a prominent role.

Samuelsson, 35, has put up back-to-back seasons with at least 50 points, the first two of his career, so he should be able to offer some complementary offence to the Panthers while providing steady play in the top nine forwards.

With his contract ($2.5-million cap hit) expiring at the end of the year, Samuelsson could have some appeal for a contending team (if the Panthers don't happen to fit that description) since he's been a productive postseason performer, scoring at least 10 playoff points in four of the last five seasons.

Sturm is a 33-year-old winger whose game has fallen off as a result of knee injuries. A seven-time 20-goal scorer, Sturm managed five goals in 35 games last season and has yet to hit the scoresheet this season in six games. He's also a minus-5.

Florida will be Sturm's fifth team since 2009-2010 and he's playing under 14 minutes per game at this point, so any offensive contributions may as well be a bonus at this point.

Sturm is making $2.25-million this season and will be an unrestricted free agent at season's end.

Essentially, the Panthers saved some money on this deal. They have enough bodies to fill their wing openings, but Samuelsson and Sturm don't offer the upside of Booth, but the limited term on their contracts, combined with unloading Reinprecht on the Canucks is an understandable financial move.