Now that we’ve all had a couple of days to recover from the shocking trade of David Booth, it’s time to sift through the rubble to uncover what could be the reasoning behind it all.
Transitions of David Booth:
For nearly six years, David Booth was clearly the Panthers fan favorite, as he gave our team electricity, charisma and power to whatever line he played on. In his second full season with the Cats, Booth tallied an impressive 60 points (31-29-60) in just 72 games. But unfortunately, two years ago today, David Booth was dealt a blow that quite possibly altered his hockey career, for the worse. The 6’0 ft speedster was struck in the head by the ruthless ex-captain of the Philadelphia Flyers, Mike Richards, which placed him on injured reserve for nearly three months. After his comeback on January 31st, 2010, against the New York Islanders, David Booth eased his way back into the groove of the game, and looked mediocre as he tallied 13 points in 19 games (6-7-13). But sadly, tragedy struck once again when Jaroslav Spacek of the Montreal Canadians placed the Panthers star left-winger back on injured reserve, for yet another concussion. Unfortunately, this fan favorite’s play became noticeably different the following season as he had a 20 point decrease from his famous 60 point season and seemed afraid to take position in the dirty areas, which showed in his minus -31 rating.
Meet the New Guys:
While the Canucks added a youthful and powerful player as a weapon to their line-up, the Florida Panthers added two veterans, Marco Sturm and Mikael Samuelsson, both with playoff experience and both tallying 50 points at least once in their career. While fans are looking for superstars, I believe Dale Tallon is looking for quality forwards with experience and the ability to perform under pressure. Mikael Samuelsson proves just that, as he is the first Florida Panther to be a member of the Triple Gold Crown; in which he won the Winter Olympic Gold medal and World Championship with Sweden in 2006, as well as a Stanley Cup ring with the Detroit Red Wings in 2008. But Mikael really proved his worthy as he recorded 50 plus points in back-to-back recent seasons with the Vancouver Canucks. As for Marco Sturm, he hasn’t had quite the resume as Samuelsson but nonetheless put up 56 points with the Boston Bruins in 2007-2008 and averaged 20 plus goals throughout his career. Sturm also competed in several international competitions with Germany such as IIHF World Championship, two Winter Olympics and one World Cup, but never took home the gold.
Other than the skill and ability all three players brought to this shocking yet exciting trade, in the end of the day money could have been what mattered the most. While David Booth has three years left on his heavy contract of $4.25 million a season, Sturm and Samuelsson’s salaries combined are close to that of Booth’s. What many people don’t realize is, if David Booth does not perform in Vancouver, they could be tied up in his contract, which may be quite difficult to move. Where if Sturm and Samuelsson do not perform, they become unrestricted free agents this July 1st. Along with shipping Booth off to Vancouver, old teammate Steven Reinprecht follows behind him, but not closely as he was already sent to Vancouver’s minor league affiliate, the Chicago Wolves. The Cats shed Reinprecht’s $2 million dollar contract, which I believe was worth every penny since he was demoted to the San Antonio Rampage before the start of the season. With possibly more cap space opening in the summer of 2012, this leaves some breathing room for Tallon to possibly pick up a much needed star such as the Devil’s new captain Zach Parise who becomes an unrestricted free agent as well as the Washington Capitals star forward, Alexander Semin.
Panther fans should not look at this trade as a “mistake” but as the continuation of Dale Tallon’s rebuilding process. The long-term impact of this trade could eventually be a huge victory for the Florida Panthers. While it’s never easy to deal with the loss of a fan favorite, the future of the Florida Panthers organization has never been in the hands of a leader with such a definitive plan.
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