Friday, May 6th, 2016

Using the Muscle


I’m very happy about the decision to obtain David Booth because Booth is my kind of player – he’s a great skater, he’s strong, and he shoots the puck.

That said, it isn’t clear that Booth will make the Canucks better right now. Mikael Samuelsson has been a surprisingly (to me) good player for Vancouver, and Marco Sturm finally showed some flashes of decent play in his last game against the Predators. The Canucks have given up some depth this season to get the best player in the deal. A hole on the second line has been filled, but that leaves an out of position Cody Hodgson or Andrew Ebbets on the third line, which seems to me to be less than ideal for a checking line. Still, that’s not a difficult hole to fill at the deadline if it proves to be a problem.

Still, I can’t see how the Canucks can lose the trade over the longer term. I think Booth has to be better on Vancouver than he was in Florida, and if he is, he’ll earn his money. (If Booth had been a UFA this summer would he have got a four year deal at $17 MM? Almost surely. Would that have been a good Gillis signing? You bet.)

Dale Tallon is touting the deal as a hockey trade, but I can’t see how giving up Booth helps the Panthers become a winning team. Neither Sturm or Samuelsson will help Florida beyond this year. Tallon is saving $2 MM this year (Reinprecht’s salary) and unloading another $13 MM in future salary committment. In hockey playing talent, how can a year of Sturm and Sammuelsson be worth four years of Booth? Tallon gets payroll flexibility going forward, but that ain’t worth much to him in the free agent market.

It has to be hard to be a Panther’s fan.

Mike Gillis is clearly ready to use his financial muscle to improve the team. Like the Ballard trade last year, he’s targeting good – if underperforming players on decent contacts with financially strapped teams. The Ballard trade hasn’t worked out yet – although Keith is playing a lot better this year – but I still like the strategy.

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5 Responses to “Using the Muscle”
  1. Thomas Pratt says:

    I wonder if this trade indicates NHL GM’s are realizing something NBA GM’s have known for a while — expiring contracts are valuable commodities. Beyond adding Sturm and Samuelsson, Tallon added cap flexibility for the summer when Semin and Parise, among others, become UFA.

  2. Tom says:

    I don’t understand the NBA CBA, but I can’t really see the value in the NHL. Cap space does have value, but only for teams flirting with the cap.

    Florida already has tons of cap flexibility. Tallon had to spend like a drunken sailor to get to the floor. If the Panthers had the money, they could compete for any free agent next year without expiring contracts. But if history is a guide, the premier free agents don’t sign with teams like Florida, money or no money. They sign with teams that offer money and a chance to win.

    What Tallon may be thinking that a new CBA may have a lower floor. In that case, getting rid of Booth and acquiring expiring contracts may give him the flexibility to cut spending – and losses – next year.

  3. Rajeev says:

    Tallon added cap flexibility for the summer when Semin and Parise, among others, become UFA.

    I don’t think much of Tallon and I certainly don’t like the Panthers, and I don’t think there’s much chance Semin goes to FLA, but I can’t imagine how many points Semin would score playing 22 min a night with Weiss.

    The Ballard trade hasn’t worked out yet – although Keith is playing a lot better this year – but I still like the strategy.

    Yea, I was going to point this out in the Luongo thread: Ballard has looked great to me this year. I’ve only seen two VAN games, and he was excellent in both. Playing with what looks like a lot of confidence and getting up and down the ice and jumping into the play at every opportunity. Good for him, good for the team.

    • Tom says:

      I don’t understand how Tallon can expect to build a winner doing what he’s doing.

      Ballard is skating this year like he never skated last year. He looks like the Keith Ballard we saw in Phoenix. He still seems to get confused in the defensive end once in a while, but you can live with that if he keeps ripping the puck up the ice. Really good for the team if this is the Keith Ballard we see this year.

  4. With one month plus now to reflect back on the trade, it looks like the Panthers knew something in moving Booth. He has some great moments in his career, but it appears that it is going to be difficult for him to be the scorer that he was prior to his concussion.

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