It has been a fairly quiet summer here in South Florida as far as the Panthers go. Not much news in the way of free agency or trades, items that will be discussed prior to the season opener. One of the most important signings however was inking left wing David Booth to a 5 year deal. Booth’s deal was for a total of 21.5 million coming out to an average cap hit of 4.25 million which is a pretty nice deal for the young left winger. Of the moves this summer this is one that had to be made.
Booth is quickly becoming a fan favorite with his boyish looks, pleasant attitude, and his exciting and infectious style of play. No one on the Panthers plays as hard as David does shift after shift. It has often been said that another 19 just like him would be great. Playing on the top scoring line last season and most of 07-08, Booth has become the Panthers go to guy when a clutch goal is needed.
David was a 2nd round draft pick (53rd overall) in the 2004 NHL Entry Draft for the Panthers, and has quickly risen to one of their top players, in a time shorter than some other heralded draft picks. While his first season was rather unspectacular, 10 points in 48 games, his second season faired much better. 22 goals 18 assists for 40 points in 73 games.
2008-2009 was his breakout year. 31 goals 29 assists for 60 points. His +/- was 10 and he had 5 game winning goals. Bigger and better things are certainly expected of David this year and in the future. Pundits throughout the NHL thought that prior to last season he would cap out at around 25 goals. While scoring 31 was only 6 more, he has shown that he can put the puck in the net pretty consistently. Like most scorers he has his streaks. But when his game is on and his linemates are all working together, Booth has the ability to get to 40. He needs a true number one center however, otherwise that number may not be attainable.
The Florida Panthers need a new face to advertise and a player to market and there is no better choice than David. Now would be the time to start and get the fans excited and motivated about the upcoming season. It’s been a pretty dull summer so far here even with Jacques Martin not around!
If you’re unfamiliar with David, take a look at his highlights from the 2008-2009 season. No way you can’t like him and what he brings every night!
Thanks for reading!