Why the Florida Panthers Won the David Booth Trade

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Why the Florida Panthers Won the David Booth Trade
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On Saturday night, the Vancouver Canucks made a bold statement in acquiring David Booth from the Florida Panthers. Booth, 26, is a top-six left wing who posted 40 points last season in 82 games.

With Booth, the Canucks also acquired a third-round pick in 2013 and center Steve Reinprecht.

What did the two players and pick cost the Canucks? Veteran forwards Marco Sturm and Mikael Samuelsson.

This trade is a great victory for the Florida Panthers.

On face value, most casual fans think this is a great deal for Vancouver. Booth's been a hot name on the trade market for the last year, and adding him to the front lines in Vancouver gives them another weapon.

But digging deeper reveals that this deal is simply another neutral move by the front office of the Canucks.

Florida GM Dale Tallon built the Stanley Cup championship team in Chicago and has been strong in his moves early in his tenure in Florida. Clearly, he is putting into action a plan to make the Panthers relevant, and that plan includes mixing veteran winners with young talent.

Florida has a solid group of prospects coming along, but they aren't ready for the NHL yet. Tallon's history would indicate that he is not only looking to build through the draft, but also by adding elite players through free agency.

Will he overpay to bring a player in? Sure. He did with Brian Campbell and Cristobal Huet in Chicago, and has since traded dead weight (Rostislav Olesz) to Chicago to bring Campbell to Florida.

Why did Tallon move Booth? In 2009-10, Booth was limited to 28 games because of concussion issues. He missed 45 games after his first concussion of that season, and his career was in question after a second hit to the head. He played 82 games for the first time in his career last year, and was minus-31 on the campaign.

Ezra Shaw/Getty Images
Samuelsson has scored a game-winning goal in each of the last five consecutive postseasons, and had at least 50 points in each of the last two seasons in Vancouver, including 30 goals in 2009-10.

More importantly, Booth has three more years on his contract with a cap number of $4.25 million. Samuelsson and Sturm are both free agents after this season.

The long-term financial impact of this deal could be enormous on both sides.

Florida now has only $40 million committed to 15 players for the 2012-13 season, and under $30 million locked up in only eight players for the 2013-14 campaign.

Meanwhile, the Canucks now have approximately $55 million locked up in 16 players already for the 2012-13 season. In 2013-14, the Canucks have over $41.4 million already committed to only 9 players.

Consider the role players Tallon added this past summer. Tomas Kopecky and Kris Versteeg won rings with Campbell in Chicago. Samuelsson adds more playoff experience to this year's roster, and more size up front. Tallon also brought in Sean Bergenheim, Tomas Fleischmann, Scottie Upshall and Ed Jovanovski.

In the summer of 2012, who will Tallon target with close to $35 million in cap space? Alex Semin and Zach Parise might look really good making too much money without a state income tax. Similarly, could Ryan Suter or Shea Weber be intrigued by the money available?

Tallon is tearing apart a roster he didn't build, and adding valuable short-term assets while opening up future flexibility.

Nobody thinks Samuelsson is going to make the Panthers a cup contender in 2012. But he might make them a tough out in the first round of the playoffs, and the money opened up by unloading an overrated Booth could make it possible for Tallon to sign a game-changer this summer.

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