Move to Vancouver good for both Canucks and Booth
Michael Rushton, NHL Contributing Editor
Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) -
For the Vancouver Canucks and forward David Booth, it was a win-win.
In making a deal for Booth, the Canucks added a former 30-goal scorer who at the age of 26 should still have plenty of good years left on the ice.
Well, lets just say that playing the majority of a hockey season inside a BankAtlantic Center that is nearly a quarter-empty each night couldn't have been too much fun for the Detroit native.
While Booth did admit following the Oct. 22 trade that sent him from the Panthers to the Canucks was an emotional one for him, time -- and winning -- can heal all wounds. It is no doubt difficult leaving family (Booth said he lived with his brother in Florida) and the only franchise you have ever known behind, but the five-year pro now finds himself in a great situation.
Booth was drafted by the Panthers in the second round of the 2004 draft, or four years after the Florida franchise last made the postseason. The Canucks, meanwhile, fell just one game short of winning it all in 2011.
That's where Booth comes in.
David Booth is ready for the new challenge that Vancouver will present.
Granted, the presence of a pair of twins named Sedin and a former Vezina Trophy nominee in Roberto Luongo means that Booth wasn't brought in to be a savior. No, what the 6-foot winger brings is depth and additional scoring, something that prevented the Canucks from beating the Boston Bruins in last season's Stanley Cup Finals.
Remember that Daniel and Henrik Sedin, the last two Art Ross Trophy winners, combined for only five points in last year's Finals, with Henrik logging just a single goal. That makes it pretty impressive that Vancouver was even able to get to seven games in the series, though it doesn't offer any additional comfort either.
So, the Canucks rolled the dice to get Booth, Steve Reinprecht and a 2013 draft pick for Mikael Samuelsson and Marco Sturm. The American is not without some risk, having dealt with two concussions in his career, but also isn't that far removed from the 31 goals he scored in 2008-09.
Booth had just one assist over the Panthers' first six games before the trade, but is ready for the new challenge that Vancouver will present.
"I know I have to be better," Booth said following the trade. "I just hold myself to my highest expectations. That's higher than what anyone else expects. That's something I've always done in my life and my career, is hold myself to my own."
One reason that the Canucks may have targeted Booth is his history with second-line center Ryan Kesler, who the new addition its currently skating with. Kesler is also a Michigan native and the two played two years of minor hockey together before moving on to the U.S. National Development Team Program, the U.S. national junior team and now the Canucks.
Booth and Kesler have even tasted glory before, earning gold together at the 2004 World Junior Championships.
"Good memories. I've been through so many championships with him, growing up and playing," Booth said of Kesler upon joining Vancouver. "Really looking forward to it because I know he's a champion and a great leader."
Things are still coming along for Booth in Vancouver. He went pointless over his first two games with the Canucks and posted a minus-two rating before logging an assist in Saturday's win over the Capitals. Booth wasn't shy with the puck, firing a season-high six shots, and picked up his point on the power play.
Interestingly, Booth found the scoresheet without Kesler being on the ice, but the latter knows the chemistry between the two will come.
"It's going well," Kesler said of playing with Booth. "Obviously I haven't played with him in a couple of years so it's going to take some time, but I think the last game was our best game together. We were generating chances and he's really driving the net hard."
Booth will have plenty of time to bond with his new teammates as the Canucks begin a six-game road trip Tuesday night in Calgary. Vancouver will look to build off an encouraging win in which the club got a pair of goals from a defenseman in Alexander Edler and another two each from bottom-six skaters in Chris Higgins and Maxim Lapierre.
That's the kind of production head coach Alain Vigneault knows his team will need.
"It's so important for a team to get scoring by committee. That's how you win on a consistent basis," the coach said.
That's something David Booth could get used to.