WHO IS THIS GUY?
Weight: 212 lbs
Born: November 24, 1984 in Detroit, Michigan.
Salary: $4.25 million for one more season.
Drafted in the second round (53rd overall) by the Florida Panthers in the 2004 NHL Entry Draft. For the record (and to go off topic a tad, the Canucks had an excellent draft year in 2004. They selected Cory Schneider (26th), Alexander Edler (91st), Mike Brown (159th) and Jannik Hansen (287th). That's got to be one of their best draft years.
Booth's career stats:
In June, he is slated to marry this hottie, in a field in Montana, probably with the head of a huge deer he shot somewhere the picture. Oh yeah, it's true. Which is cool. I know the city slickers don't get it but, don't go messin' with a country boy! Toot! Toot!
WHAT DID HE DO?
At the beginning of the season, head coach John Tortorella had this to say about him:
10 games-in, with 1 goal and 2 assists and 12 shots on goal, Booth found himself in Tortorella's doghouse. He was the first victim to be a healthy scratch. After 1 game riding the pine he returned to action only to sustain a lower body injury (groin, likely) on November 24 against the Devils. About a week and a half later he was sent to Utica for a 3-game conditioning assignment. He recorded 1 assist there.
Booth returned to the Canucks' lineup on November 14 but was a healthy scratch again after the following game. Booth mentioned that his speed and explosiveness was not where it needed to be. He was not very effective out there and was only getting about 13:11 of ice time on average up to that point.
He returned to the lineup again on November 25 and had 5 shots in a 3-2 OT loss to the Kings. Suddenly, he started to come alive, recording 2 goals and an assist in his next 2 games.
This goal was assisted by Santorelli and Dale Weise, and is what can be considered a typical Booth goal:
After that 2 game hot streak he was quiet for 6 games, and then went on a 3-game point streak (2 goals and 1 assist). One of those goals was a beauty wrister against the Bruins on December 14, playing on a line with Richardson and Zack Kassian:
I had forgotten that Torts had played Booth with Kass and Richardson that early in the season. Here is a goal Booth scored the following game. Typical Booth goal again, in front of the net!
After that game though, the drought hit. Not just a dead grass-sunny-for-two-weeks drought. Nah, more like the Sahara Desert. Over the next 32 games, Booth would score NO goals and have a piddly 4 assists. He was a -10 in that colossal drought, to his credit. You would expect worse. In those weeks of mad futility he was benched several more times. I read somewhere that he was a healthy scratch 12 times this season. Jeeziz.
It appears that Booth was ranked on average 7th overall on the team's forwards with quality of competition faced. His Fenwick numbers sucked. He was tops on the team with save percentage while on the ice? What? He's good at defence? Well, he can't be all that bad, especially considering the +/- stat during his drought.
Booth's PDO is very high. I guess the mathematical ####s would say that means he was really lucky and that he's due for a regression. F*ck it. If you are into advanced stats check out the Canucks team stats here.
-Booth's +1 ranked him 3rd on the team amongst the forwards.
-I can appreciate 18 penalty minutes in 66 games played.
-Booth's 13:28 averaged ice time per game ranked him 11th amongst Canucks forwards. Doooooooghoooouse.
-Booth's 121 hits ranked him 3rd on the team.
-Booth was rarely used in power play situations. That needs to change.
ESPN has some sweet Booth situational stats here like:
-6 of his 9 goals and 12 of his 19 points came in the 28 games the team won with him in the lineup. 3 goals and 7 points in the 38 games the team won with him in the lineup.
-5 goals and 12 assists against Western Conference teams, 3 of those goals came against Minnesota.
SO WHAT DID WE LIKE?
Allow me to carry on the Boother storyline. After that 32 game abyss, Booth came alive, again This time it looked more promising. OK, so it was another 3-game point streak (3 goals and 1 assist, from March 23-27), but by this time Booth was showing explosive strides and super speed. Plus, the Canucks' best line over the final few weeks of the season was their 3rd line of Booth-Richardson-Kassian.
Here is rain after the drought (along with 4 assists by Kassian, yeesh!):
But that's a shitty Sabres team. Let's look at another. David Booth, assisted by Jared (like a) Spurgeon:
Check out his speed on his first goal that evening:
Booth scored 4 goals, 2 assists, 26 shots was a +5 in his final 10 regular season games and finally started looking like the player we've been waiting for.
Booth had looked a lot faster out there late-December and beyond. He credited skating coach (and former skating coach) Barb Aidelbaum for helping him regain some of his missing explosive speed.
Quite a character. I liked this Sportsnet profile on him:
COOL. SO WHAT DID WE HATE?
Often injured (knee, groin, ankle injuries and who knows what else)
134 games played in a Canucks uniform. 26 goals and 25 assists and 61 points in those games. Not worth the price tag.
SO WHAT NOW?
Is there a more controversial / questioned player on the Canucks roster the last few years? The debate still rages on as to whether or not Booth and his $4.25 million salary should be bought out this offseason. (He could not be bought out last season due to injury, I believe.) His play in the latter weeks of the season was encouraging. The Booth-Richardson-Kassian line was impressive and often looked like a top line (and was the top line in the Sedins-Burrows-Kesler's sucky absence). It looked like a line you'd wanna keep for next season because out of all the lines presented, that line was closest to a sure thing.
Personally, I am quite on the fence with Booth. I want to see what he can bring after playing a full season. A full healthy season. But I have lost faith in him staying healthy. It's not only the shady track record, but also the way he plays. He plays that rough, ballsy style kind of like Ryan Kesler does so can you really even expect a full season out of him? Then there's the scoring droughts...ack!!! Sure, some of it can be blamed on injury. Some of it can be blamed on mental ability and execution.
My final call: It's a contract year for him. Contract years can be a real motivator for many players. I am going to put Booth in that category. On top of that...can you really see ownership buying out Booth after already buying out the remaining contracts of Mike Gillis and John Tortorella? I can't. Booth brings that up-tempo style of hockey that new President Trevor Linden is preaching so I expect him to stay....and buy property near Vernon. Yeah, he said that. Got problem animals in your hood? I got just the dude to help you out!