Breaking Down the Booth Deal

Posted: October 23, 2011 by Realdeal in Florida Panthers, Trade, Vancouver Canucks
Tags: , , , ,

The Florida Panthers started off this season 3-1 but with two 3-0 losses (to Washington and Buffalo), GM Dale Tallon continued to shake up the team’s roster.  After a summer of rebuilding virtually the entire roster, it seemed like the wheeling and dealing was finished.

Last night, the Panthers shook things up and traded away mainstay forward David Booth (along with Steven Reinprecht and a third round pick) to the Vancouver Canucks. In exchange Florida received veteran forwards Mikael Samuelsson and Marco Sturm. Booth had been with the Panthers for the last five seasons, playing 309 games, scoring 87 goals and 167 points. He had missed most of the 2009-10 season with a concussion, and hasn’t been the same since. In 2008-09 he hit the 30 goal plateau and finished with 60 points. Last season he put up a respectable 23-17-40 but wasn’t the same player before the hit, finishing at a -31.

So why trade a promising young forward for two aging forwards? For starters, Booth carries a $4.25m cap hit through the 2014-15 season. Samuelsson and Sturm’s contracts, totaling $4.75m expire at the end of the year, which will give the team a little more flexibility for next year’s offseason, if they are not resigned, or brought back for cheaper. Although money was likely a factor, Tallon explained the move was about performance, as he was not happy with Booth’s play so far this season (6 games, 1 assist, -6).

When the trade was finalized, the Panthers were getting ready for a pregame skate before their matchup with the New York Islanders. Booth reportedly broke down in tears when he was told he was dealt, and left a message for his teammates on the team’s dry erase board.  One would expect a player to be upset about leaving the only organization he’s ever known.  The Panthers drafted Booth in 2004 and joined the big club in the 2006-07 season.  Maybe in a few days, he’ll realize the great opportunity about joining a Stanley Cup contender and playing with some all-star caliber players.

How are the fans of both teams taking the trade news?

Canucks fan Melina liked the deal, saying “if [Booth] can stay healthy, and develop chemistry with (Ryan) Kesler, it’ll be a major steal.”  It seems like Booth will play with Kesler and Chris Higgins on Vancouver’s second line.

On the flip side, Panthers fan Vickey was unhappy with the move.  She mentioned his great personality, hard working attitude on the ice, and that he was a fan favorite. She went onto say, “While I am saddened by the trade news, it is understandable. The Panthers are attempting to change their team image and reputation both on and off the ice and David Booth appeared to no longer fit into the club dynamic. Booth will always be a respected individual and a classy player. I will always love David Booth, he is the kind of person that you just can’t help but wish positive things for, and I will always wish him nothing but success, since he truly deserves it!”  Vickey also talked about the players the Panthers received, saying she is skeptical of Samuelsson and Sturm, but will refrain from calling it a good trade or bad until they prove themselves on the ice.

Does the deal signal that Florida is already looking ahead to next offseason?  Not necessarily, but it shows that the rebuilding of the franchise is not going to be done overnight and will be a continuing process.

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