So long, Booth
The 2013-14 NHL season may have come to its conclusion with the L.A. Kings Stanley Cup victory over the New York Rangers, but that doesn’t mean the fun stops. That’s hardly the case, as a matter of fact.
The window for teams to buyout players began this Monday and will continue until after the NHL draft, which ends June 28th.
The festivities started with former Canuck and current Alain Vigneault favourite, Aaron Rome. His name was the first placed on unconditional waivers with the purpose of a buyout.
Following Rome, Ville Leino and David Booth were placed on waivers as well, also with the purpose of using a compliance buyout.
Booth’s name is just the latest to be added to the long list of former Canucks, who are now being paid to not be a part of Vancouver’s future; that list includes names like John Tortorella, Mike Gillis, Roberto Luongo and Keith Ballard.
For the most part, there’s no arguing with the names of dispatched players and management. The most recent addition to that list, well that’s another story.
Value Beyond Goals
While it’s easy to look at Booth’s counting stats as a reason for disappointment, they only paint a part of the picture where he is concerned. A rather unfair one at that.
One of Booth’s most underrated qualities was his ability to draw penalties.
This may seem like a relatively unimportant quality, but consider for a second how maligned the Canucks were last season with regards to drawing penalties. Booth’s +7 penalty differential is third best on Vancouver, behind only Daniel Sedin and Dan Hamhuis.
Not only does Booth draw penalties at a good rate, but he drives play reasonably well too. Under Tortorella, Booth’s offensive zone starts dropped considerably to a measly 45%.
Nothing against Richardson, but he’s the piece that doesn’t fit on that third line and acted as a possession anchor to Kassian and Richardson.
Bang for Buck?
If there is one fair criticism of David Booth, it’s that he hasn’t lived up to his contract during his time in Vancouver. Driving play is all fine and dandy, but paying Booth over $4M a season to be a reasonably effective third line is, in all fairness, a bit much.
But, that said, Booth had only one year left on his deal. Just one year, left on a team that is short on effective bottom-six forwards.
Better still, no matter how good the usage of that newly freed cap space, barring some miracle, it will not make the Canucks a contender again.
They need a lot more than $4.25M in cap space to do that.
It’s also worth noting that ownership itself is only going to save $1M by letting Booth go.
Hardly pocket change, but I can’t imagine that breaks the bank – all things being relative, of course.