A question that is asked from time to time is this, “Who is the best player on the Florida Panthers?” Most of the time the answer is Stephen Weiss. Here in this post I will state my reasons for who I think could shock the NHL and the Florida Panthers this season. David Booth has established himself as one of the top players for the Florida Panthers the past couple of seasons, but the question is, can he take the step into being one of the top players on not just the Panthers, but in the entire NHL? Last season Booth was making a comeback after his injury in 2009-2010 and in his comeback, Booth put up some decent numbers staying injury free and putting up a total of 40 points with a very young panther team, but now with the arrival of Versteeg and Huberdeau, I think that Booth can increase those numbers big time. Booth, to me, is one of those players like Ryan Kesler or Patrick Sharp that were not early bloomers, it took a bit of time for them to become top NHL players and I think that this is the time for David Booth to make his mark in the NHL.
Now, what can we expect from David Booth this season? A monster season, I can see it happening and here is why. Number 1, Booth has a great offensive core surrounding him, Stephen Weiss, Kris Versteeg, Sean Bergenheim, Evgeny Dadonov and Jonathan Huberdeau, all of which I think can be big weapons in the Florida Panthers offense, so that means, count on more goals from David Booth. All of these players can dish out assists so expect 30+ goals from David Booth this season. Number 2, Points are not just goals they can also be assists and Booth put up only 17 last season and there is no doubt in my mind that number will go up so, just like with Goals, expect 30+ assists from David Booth this season at least. I think he can do better than that because Versteeg and Weiss will be 70+ point contenders and someone is going to have to help Weiss and Versteeg dish out some of those Goals. Booth being on one of the top lines I think, he will be a big part of Weiss and Versteeg dishing out 70+ Points.
Now, here are 3 keys for David Booth to become a top player in the NHL this season. Number 1, Stay healthy, that is always the concern for all top players heading into the season in any sport, so for Booth, do not try and be a hero. Don’t go diving after pucks unless the game means a lot and I am talking Playoff games or ‘must wins’ at the end of the season. Also, I think I speak for every game when I say, “No fights please”, I know fights are great even when you see them in person but, they are not that great when one of the players on your team losses or gets knocked out. Number 2, get to the net, be aggressive, get to the front of the net to be able to just push the puck in for an easy goal. I am pretty sure Weiss and Versteeg will not hesitate when they see Booth right in front of the net for a sure goal. Number 3, be a leader, no one is going to give you the puck if you are giving up when you are down by 3 or 6 for that matter, do not give up, be a locker room presence, be someone the team Captain can count on in late game situations, be a motivator! All in all, if Booth can complete all of those keys, I have a feeling he will have a monster season for the Florida Panthers and maybe even a monster season for the NHL.