David Booth is set to get married later this month at the field in Montana where he bagged his biggest deer. (He’s a weird dude. This has been established.)
So what do you get as a wedding present for a dude this wacky? Coonskin cap? Bearskin rug? A something-skin something, most definitely, unless you want to go the route the Canucks have reportedly opted to go, and just give him cash.
It’s a pretty impersonal gift, granted, but the Canucks probably don’t mind, since this one doubles as compliance buyout. Late Monday evening, new Canucks GM Jim Benning called Booth’s agent Mike Liut to inform him that the left winger would be bought out. From the Canucks:
David Booth has been placed on waivers for the purposes of granting him his unconditional release. In the event he clears the club will execute a Compliance Buyout in accordance with the NHL/NHLPA Collecting Bargaining Agreement.
We wish David all the success in the future and thank him for his contributions with the Canucks.
The David Booth era in Vancouver is, sadly, over.
It definitely hasn’t been boring. Booth’s been a constant source of amusement and/or discussion here at Bulis for quite some time. There was that time he killed a bear. That time he kissed a bear. His theology school and religious beliefs. That time he killed Falcor. That time he took a slackline to the groin. Booth is always doing something, it seems.
Except for scoring, which is why we’re talking buyouts today. Safe to say all of Booth’s quirks would have been forgiven by the fans, in much the same way we tend to forgive others their sins, no matter how outrageous, if they came with a lot of goals.
But he didn’t do that very often. In his last 78 games for the Canucks, Booth contributed just 10 goals, which is nowhere close to good enough for a guy with a $4.5 million cap hit. With the Canucks looking to compete next year, and this buyout is a clear sign that they are, that money is better allocated to retooling the second line, either by complementing Ryan Kesler (which Booth didn’t seem to do), or replacing him.
That’s the big issue here. Booth settled in nicely as a third-liner near the end, but between Chris Higgins, Zack Kassian, Jannik Hansen, Nicklas Jensen, Shawn Matthias, and hell, even Alex Burrows until he proves otherwise, the Canucks have several of those, and they’re still looking to lock up another in Mike Santorelli. It makes sense for them to cut ties with their most expensive one.
(Well. It’s technically a tie with Alex Burrows, who also has a $4.5M cap hit and for longer. There’s an argument to be made for buying him out instead — John Tortorella made it — but Burrows can play with the Sedins, not to mention he’s beloved by the fanbase. The Canucks are still in make-the-fans-happy mode, after all. Can you imagine if Jim Benning’s first move as GM was to cut ties with Alex Burrows, as suggested by the outbound Tortorella, and keep David Booth? That’s a P.R. nightmare. It wasn’t happening. In fact, we’ll assume the opportunity to be rid of a Gillis mistake was the tiebreaker here.)
Still, while this makes sense, it’s a shame to see Booth go, because with this buyout, he instantly becomes the type of guy a team like the Canucks would be wise to pursue.
He’s been a positive possession player ever since he came to Vancouver. He had a 58.4% corsi for the Canucks in 2011-12, a 60.5% corsi in 2012-13, and a 52% corsi in 2013-14. His offensive was subpar, sure, but there were injury troubles all along the way, and by his own admission, he didn’t really get up to speed following the lockout until late last season. There’s enough evidence in his underliers and his story to suggest that his days as a 20-goal scorer aren’t up. He’s worth a gamble.
But he’s not worth what the Canucks are paying him. Which is why they’ve decided to stop doing that.