Originally posted on Red Light District Hockey  |  Last updated 10/23/11

On Saturday night, the Vancouver Canucks and Florida Panthers swung a blockbuster trade with David Booth, Steve Reinprecht and a third round draft pick in 2013 heading to Western Canada in exchange for forwards Mikael Samuelsson and Marco Sturm. Will Booth be a difference maker in Vancouver?

The initial reaction around the NHL was clear: GM Dale Tallon was willing to give up potential in exchange for an immediate return and cap space. David Booth was a part of the old regime in South Florida, just like Michael Frolik, Keith Ballard, and more recently, Pete DeBoer and Tomas Vokoun before him.

New head coach Kevin Dineen split Booth up from long-time line-mate Stephen Weiss which led to a scoring slump of one assist through six games while toiling on the second line with gritty forwards Scottie Upshall and Tomas Kopecky. Not enamored with his production or play, Tallon banked on Booth not being worth his cap hit. However, the other GM in the exchange, Mike Gillis, was betting he could fit in Vancouver.
Over the previous four seasons, Booth scored 23, 8, 32 and 22 goals, respectively. If we remove his injury-plagued, 28-game campaign where he produced those eight goals, then the Detroit native averaged 26 goals per season.
In a more offensive system with established top liners, Booth should be able to recapture that scoring touch. With Mason Raymond out of the lineup indefinitely, Ryan Kesler now has a pure sniper on his wing -- one that can keep up with him at top speed.
The two actually are familiar with each other as US born forwards, playing in the WJHC U-18 tournament in 2002 and the Gold Medal winning 2004 WJHC U-20 team. He should begin his career in Vancouver flanking Kesler, as Christopher Higgins or Cody Hodgson take the other side.
While Hodgson and Higgins have been serviceable for the Canucks through the first eight games, combining for four goals and seven points, the addition of Booth simply adds another dimension of depth.
En route to their Presidents' Trophy last season, the second line combined for 74 goals and 162 points. Sum those totals this season and you get six goals and 12 points, which is a slight drop in production over eight as it prorates to 62 goals and 123 points in the best-case scenario.
Now factor in that, barring injury, Booth likely hits 20 goals and one of Hodgson/Higgins brings their scoring touch to the third line, where the team lost 14 goals when Raffi Torres left for Phoenix. In one move, Gillis filled most of his team's holes.
In addition, Booth, age 26, brings a veteran presence to the lineup, which helps a team with an average age of slightly under 28 get younger -- only seven of their 25-man active roster are actually younger than him.
All that for a reasonable cap hit of $4.25 million which will last through 2015. When factoring the longevity of his contract, the move appears a bit riskier. But Gillis certainly filled his holes and strengthened his team for what he hopes to be another deep run in the Stanley Cup Playoffs.
Photo credit: Getty Images
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