The Florida Panthers Won the David Booth Trade

Tab BamfordSenior Writer IApril 23, 2012

On October 23, the Florida Panthers and Vancouver Canucks made an intriguing early-season trade.

Vancouver dealt veteran forwards Marco Sturm and Mikael Samuelsson to Florida for forwards David Booth and Steven Reinprecht and a third-round pick in 2013.

When that deal was consummated, I wrote a piece detailing why the Florida Panthers had won the deal. And followed that article up with a second one. Those two articles had a lot of dialogue in the comments sections (177 comments).

The cliff notes of my arguments in October are simple:

  1. The Canucks would miss Samuelsson's size and experience.
  2. The Canucks would regret adding three more years at a $4.25 million cap hit of Booth's contract (both Sturm and Samuelsson are free agents this summer).

Now, here we are, on April 23, and the Vancouver Canucks are setting tee times.

In five games against the LA Kings, Booth contributed zero goals and one assist. He was minus-one in the series.

Meanwhile, in Florida, the Panthers can eliminate the New Jersey Devils in Game 6. For his part, Samuelsson has four assists in five games.

So what we're seeing right away is that Samuelsson has outperformed Booth in the postseason.

There's more to this mistake by the Canucks, though. Samuelsson also has 12 hits through five games, as many as Booth had for Vancouver.

But the loss of Samuelsson's play up front contributed to the Canucks making another mistake this season, when they traded rookie Cody Hodgson to the Buffalo Sabres for Zack Kassian. Vancouver claimed they needed more size and traded away the sniper Hodgson at the deadline.

Hodgson scored 19 goals this year and had seven points on the power play, in 83 games between Vancouver and Buffalo. He's more of a pure scorer and could have helped make up for the loss of Daniel Sedin early in the series.

But he was out of the playoffs and getting paychecks from the Sabres.

Meanwhile, Kassian averaged 4:51 on the ice in four games in the postseason. He had two penalty minutes and one shot on goal.

And now, Booth, Kassian and the Canucks have another headache to deal with—the cap next year.

The Canucks have over $55 million committed to 17 players on their NHL roster already for next year, and that number doesn't include the so-called "hero" of their one playoff win—goalie Cory Schneider.

When the trade happened, I instantly labeled it a bust for Vancouver because of the long-term implications; I predicted the Canucks would miss Samuelsson's presence on the ice in the playoffs and his contract expiring this summer.

Vancouver traded away the player they needed for the last five games for an underachiever.

So to those folks who left comments on that original story telling me the Panthers wouldn't make the playoffs, and that Booth was the real deal—good luck with that. Maybe you can catch up with Mr. Booth on a golf course somewhere in Canada next week.

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