Vancouver Canucks Trade: Why We Shouldn't be so Excited about David Booth Yet

Adam Graham@@adam_grahamAnalyst IIOctober 23, 2011

SUNRISE, FL - MARCH 3: David Booth #10 of the Florida Panthers waits for a face off against the Montreal Canadiens on March 3, 2011 at the BankAtlantic Center in Sunrise, Florida. The Canadiens defeated the Panthers 4-0. (Photo by Joel Auerbach/Getty Images)
Joel Auerbach/Getty Images

It seems these days that some things never change in the NHL.

Rick DiPietro is on the Injured Reserve list once again on Long Island, as is Tim Connolly, even though he’s now in Toronto.

In Vancouver, both Roberto Luongo and the rest of the Canucks got off to a mediocre start, and their management has made another trade with the Florida Panthers. Some things never change.

However, this particular Canucks and Panthers swap is a bit surprising because it happened so early in the season. In case you need a refresher, let me feed you the contents of the deal:


To Vancouver: David Booth, Steven Reinprecht, a third-round draft pick in 2013

To Florida: Mikael Samuelsson, Marco Sturm


Now, if we eliminate the side dishes, we’re getting rid of Sturm, Reinprecht and the draft pick.

Sturm showed little in the way of promise with the Canucks, albeit in only the first six games, and was likely on his way to the press box or the waiver wire if he remained in Vancouver for much longer.

Reinprecht is what the Canucks get to even out the Sturm salary. The only difference is he’s already cleared waivers and is in the minors, which is where he’ll stay with the Canucks organization for the immediate future.

In other words, we’ll forget about both of these players, call it a wash and move on to the main course of Booth for Samuelsson.

On the surface, both players have produced very similar stats over the past few seasons. However, if you’d rather use Twitter as the immediate judge of who won this deal, it looks as though the Canucks have the edge.

At the very least, you can be certain the approval rating for Mike Gillis in Canucks nation is much higher than the approval rating for Roberto Luongo.

It seems as though Gillis can do no wrong among the vast majority of Canucks fans. He seems to have earned their trust with his calm confidence as well as the team’s success on the ice since he took over as GM.

That and the fact that he dealt away a player who many were not that enamoured with in Samuelsson created an extremely positive vibe in Vancouver on Saturday. Not that the overtime victory over the Minnesota Wild earlier in the day didn’t help.

However, the increasingly impervious attitude towards Samuelsson as a Canuck is just as mystifying as those who are beaming with excitement over the acquisition of Booth.

Whether you agree with it or not, Mikael Samuelsson is a top-six forward on any NHL team. Yes, he lacks the breakaway speed or fierce tenacity that the casual fan notices, but he still puts up solid numbers and was actually the Canucks' best player in the entire 2010 playoffs.

Then again, maybe Canucks fans became accustomed to success without Samuelsson after the team didn’t miss a beat during their run to the Stanley Cup Finals when he injured himself.

Or it could be the number of people who were fed up with Coach Alain Vigneault’s decision to have him manning the point on the first power play unit instead of Sami Salo. Either way, he’s gone and will play out the last year of his contract in Florida.

Speaking of contracts, David Booth’s can be looked at from two completely different perspectives. The optimist would rave about a top-six winger who is only three seasons removed from scoring 31 goals and is eight years younger than Samuelsson. He’s also under contract until 2015!

The skeptic would point out that he only produced 40 points last season and hasn’t been as effective since his concussion that caused him to miss 54 games as a result of a massive hit delivered by Mike Richards in 2009. He’s also under contract until 2015.

Did I mention that his cap hit is $4.25 million? Did I mention that Keith Ballard is under contract until 2015 as well and has a $4.2 million cap hit?

This is the same Keith Ballard whom the Canucks acquired from the same Florida Panthers team last summer.

Now, this may not be a fair comparison, because Ballard has looked much better so far this season and we have no idea how Booth will turn out, but their contracts and the way the Canucks acquired them are eerily similar.

What’s also eerie is how little we know about David Booth since we rarely get a chance to see any Panthers games here in Vancouver. Chris Higgins, who played with Booth in Florida, thinks he’ll be a good fit.

However, will he thrive while playing with a more talented center in Ryan Kesler? Or will he struggle to adapt to the changes of playing for a contender in a hockey-mad market like Vancouver?

We can only hope he’ll provide the same offense for the Canucks that he provided the Panthers with before his 2009 concussion. Otherwise, his contract could cause some serious problems down the road.

In other words, this trade is a case of high risk vs. high reward. The reward is in Booth’s youth and his upside being far greater than Mikael Samuelsson’s. The risk comes with his contract along with his up-and-down career to date.

This shouldn’t make you nervous, though. I just think you might also want to take Larry David’s advice and “Curb Your Enthusiasm” a little when it comes to David Booth, at least for now.


This article also appears on Bottom Line Hockey

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