The best performances from the new Canucks this season have, without question, come from the 27-year-old David Booth and the 21-year-old Cody Hodgson.
Booth, who was acquired in a trade from the Florida Panthers very early in the season, started out slow but has come on strong since December and has been arguably the Canucks best forward since mid-January. In fact, if you take away the first 12 games of the season, in which he didn’t score a single goal, Booth would have 11 goals in just 25 games for the Canucks, which is exactly what the team needs out of a top-six winger playing alongside Ryan Kesler. At the very least, he brings more speed and potential to the table than the player he was traded for, Mikael Samuelsson.
Hodgson isn’t completely new to the Canucks, but this is his first full season with the big club after he contributed very sparingly in the regular season and playoffs last year. Needless to say, for anyone who has watched the Canucks play this season, the former No. 10 overall draft pick has had a great rookie season and may even challenge for the Calder trophy in June.
Furthermore, Hodgson’s versatility has given coach Vigneault a variety of options in terms of how he can use his forwards. So far this season, Hodgson has been used primarily as a center on the third line and a winger on the second line with Ryan Kesler and David Booth. This gives the Canucks plenty of depth as it allows for players like Mason Raymond and Chris Higgins to move down on the depth chart and give the Canucks an even more potent third line, in addition to their stellar second line.
The Canucks have been searching for this kind of depth up front for quite some time now, and thanks to Cody Hodgson and David Booth they seem to finally have what they need to make another deep playoff run in 2012.
Follow Adam Graham on Twitter