Friday, July 06, 2012

The Kesler effect: Booth to hit 30?

Of all the Canucks players not named Luongo or Schneider this off-season, perhaps the only one to make any noise has been David Booth (See: Hunting video misguidedly published online).  Whether the Canucks winger should be condoned or criticized or his bear-hunting practices is borderline irrelevant completely up to non-hockey-related debate.

For that reason, it’s unfortunate that any mention of him until training camp will likely redirect attention to that incident (one Province column even facetiously asked in a headline, “Would Canucks trade David Booth after bear bait incident?”), cause speaking hockey, Booth represents the Canucks' central X-factor for the upcoming season.  If there's one player whose impending breakout season the team will benefit most from, it's Booth.  So to the multitudes on the forums heralding Zack Kassian for that role, sorry, but no.

When Gillis traded for Booth last October, the Canucks essentially flipped Mikael Samuelsson and change for a younger, more exciting version of the aging Swede.  At his best, Samuelsson represented valuable second-line scoring and upwards of fifty points you can bank on.  By comparison, Booth delivered 16 goals and 30 points over 62 games in a first year with Vancouver interrupted by major injury.  On a points-per-game basis, that ranked sixth among team forwards, behind the Sedins, Burrows, Kesler and Higgins.  That’s not quite as eye-popping as one of his forays to the front of the net can be, but it’s not a hugely underwhelming performance.  It's also consistent with his expectation to contribute top-six numbers.

Still, the organization and fans will undoubtedly, and even justifiably, want more in 2012–13.  The need is even greater with Kesler sidelined for the first month-and-a-half… though playing without a bonafide centre to start the campaign will logically work counteractively towards that. 

On the flip side, consider that even with a winger capable of scoring, Kesler became even more unwilling to make a pass last season.  (I don't care how many goals you scored two years ago, you can't shoot the puck through the defenceman's skates on every single rush.)  With Kes gone until mid-November, it could spark Booth to take more responsibility for his performance on the second line.  He will conceivably have more puck-time and, consequently, more opportunity to prove why fans voted him for the Most Exciting Player Award at the end of the regular season.  For the former Panthers cornerstone, a return to 30-goal form is not out of the question, even after his multiple concussions in 2009–10.

Though he's been inconsistent in his short tenure with the Canucks, the upside to Booth is that when he does make something happen, everybody notices.  It's legitimate reason to hope he can be a major part of this team for a long time. A little over a month ago, I wrote an article highlighting Henrik Sedin’s top five assists from the previous season.  So without further ado, as determined by Bure’s Triple Deke... Booth’s top five plays from 2011–12:

It makes Canucks fans and management alike salivate at what level he could attain if he did it on a consistent basis.


*See the discussion regarding this article on the forums here.


  1. Hey there! Just thought I'd drop you a comment and say how much I enjoy your blog, you're one of the bloggers that inspired me to start my own Canuck blog and start putting down my thoughts to "paper".

    Keep up the awesome work!

  2. Wow, that's gotta be the best thing anyone's ever said about my blog.. Thanks! Didn't know about your blog til now; looks great. Definitely following.

    1. Hey that's awesome! I just started so having someone read it makes me feel fantastic! I look forward to chatting with you over Canucks info in the future.

  3. Nice Harold! I love watching Booth play, and his explosiveness is super exciting. One of these days he's bound to get a wrap-around to find the back of the net:) Here's to hoping he has a great season.