Back in the Booth
Nearly two years ago Mike Gillis flipped Marco Sturm and Mikael Samuelsson to Florida for David Booth, Steven Reinprecht and a third round pick.
Gillis’ ability to move some busted spare parts for a big-bodied top-six winger was widely praised at the time. Yet Booth, who had overcome two concussions in Florida, has only played 68 games to date for the Canucks. The promise of the ‘American Express’ line was initially derailed when Booth went down with an MCL injury thanks to a dirty hit by the Colorado Avalanche’s Kevin Porter.
Booth returned to the Canucks during the team’s post-Boston rematch malaise, which could be argued to have lasted a year and a half, and scored three goals in four games, raising hope that he would indeed find his pre-concussion form.
The optimism, however, was short lasted as Booth faded down the stretch, scoring just once in the final eleven games and just one point in five playoff games.
Last year was supposed to be Booth’s comeback/redemption year, but Booth suffered a groin injury in training camp and sputtered out of the gate with just three points in 12 games before suffering a season-ending ankle injury in a game against the Detroit Red Wings.
So controversy and injuries: The David Booth era.
Safe to say then that it’s a big year for Booth. Much like his counterpart Ryan Kesler (and really the organization as a whole), Booth needs to have a year where he can stay healthy, put the last couple of years behind him, and play great hockey. There’s also the small matter of Sochi. Kesler is a safe bet to make the American team, but Booth will need to have a big start to get his name in the conversation.
His success will be complicated by the fact that his ankle was still in pins up until a couple weeks ago, and his status for training camp is very much up in the air. He hit the ice for the first time yesterday, and hopefully a summer of not being able to train properly doesn’t come back to haunt him.
A healthy and productive David Booth means a second line that can take the scoring weight off the Sedins and would not force Luongo to have a GAA somewhere around 1.00 in order to have the Canucks win.
The Canucks have fallen from a team trying to get back to the Finals to a team trying to get past the first round.
If Booth, or Zack Kassian, can elevate his game and have a career year, this team is right back on track.