April 18 2014 01:30PM
It's Good Friday, so naturally, we'll talk David Booth.
I thought this debate up at Sportsnet was interesting: Dimitri and Dan Murphy agreed that buying David Booth out doesn't make a lot of sense, though there was a financial point I don't think either man touched on. Booth is still owed $4.25-million on his contract for one more year and even if his salary cap hit will be taken off the books next year, it makes no sense for the guy actually signing the cheques.
The buyout would save the Canucks a little over $1.4-million, although you have to consider that the Canucks will need to replace that production somehow. Booth only did score 19 points on the season but he did do that with a shooting percentage below his career rate (7.7%, career of 9.1%) and a 6.5% on-ice rate.
Watching Booth work with Zack Kassian down the stretch made me wonder what those two could accomplish with a legitimate trigger-man at centre. It's difficult to find comparables for Booth's last three years which have been a bit of a disaster. In 1683.8 minutes played, the Canucks have 10.4 shots per 20 minutes while Booth is on the ice and a 6.3% shooting rate. Those sorts of numbers turn up a lot of players who didn't exactly stick around for the next season, but a few who did saw a reasonable correction to the mean.
|Year||MINs||SF/20||On-Ice Sh%||Next season Sh%|
|Year||MINs||SF/20||On-Ice Sh%||Next season Sh%|
The plural of "anecdote" isn't "data" but being pressed for time, I can't go through every example right now. I'm sure in the comments somebody will find a few players who had rough shooting luck for three years and continued to put up lousy numbers in later years. The point is moreso that there are so many players that could have been useful that were dumped after three years of injuries and lousy on-ice shooting. Booth obviously isn't Justin Williams, but even Williams, a top-line player on a contending team at age 32, went through a period of rough injury and shooting luck.
If you asked hockey players to flip coins, and said everybody with a heads gets a good shooting year and everybody who flips tails gets a bad shooting year, there are indubitably going to be a few unlucky ones who flip four or five tails in a row. You wouldn't gauge anybody who flipped tails five times in a row (as is bound to happen over a few dozen flips) as a lousy coin-flipper, and I think sometimes hockey is too quick to label players "bad shooters" before shuttling them out of the league.
Returning to Booth—analyze the risk and reward scenarios of the Canucks buying him out. The team probably shouldn't be spending a lot of money in free agency this year, and the removal of Roberto Luongo's contract already gives them some cap space to work with if you wanted to add another player (they have $10-million or so to spend, but already have 20 guys under contract, plus whatever rookies are coming up). Ultimately, the $1.4-million savings by the team, plus whatever is used to find Booth's replacement (at least $550K, but there's no guarantee a replacement-level player matches Booth's current production), doesn't seem worth it from a strict financial sense.
I think if you're going the buyout route, look for a contract that's a bit longer.
WEEKEND WATCHABILITY INDEX
The Canucks aren't in the playoffs, but so far we've seen seven remarkably watchable hockey games. Here are the ones I'm looking forward to this weekend:
Game 2 - Montreal vs. Tampa Bay - Friday @ 4:00 p.m. Pacific
The hook: Game 1 was like giving two eight-year-olds a gallon of their favourite carbonated sugar water and letting them loose in Disneyland. Montreal controlled 60% of the score-close, even strength shots, because nothing in this crazy world makes sense, and Anders Lindback out-goaltended Carey Price until the overtime, because nothing in this crazy world makes sense, and Dale Weise scored the winner late in the first overtime period, because why the hell not.
Considering the best Lightning player in the first game, possession-wise, was depth winger JT Brown who had some real good shifts cycling and setting up chances, there's probably a bit more from them than we saw in Game 1. I just hope the play doesn't become structured and boring.
Game 2 - Detroit vs. Boston - Sunday @ noon Pacific
The hook: A hell of a hangover special here. I'm thinking that NBC may use it's A-team (which somehow involves Pierre McGuire) for Flyers/Rangers, so set your alarm clock a bit later for Game 2 here. This is so far the only series that hasn't played a game yet, but it's a pretty compelling matchup now that the Wings have Pavel Datsyuk back in the lineup. The important head-to-head aspect of this contest? Gustav Nyquist's unsustainable shooting percentage versus Tuukka Rask.
Game 2 - Los Angeles vs. San Jose - Sunday @ 7:00 p.m. Pacific
The hook: Jonathan Quick is lucky that the rest of the hockey world was too busy watching overtime Thursday night and thus nobody watched him crap the bed against the Sharks. San Jose completely dominated, taking 68% of the score close Corsis in 15 minutes of action, and like Tampa, the Kings have another gear they can step up to, and they'd probably have found it in the first game of the series had Quick not gone all 2010 Jonathan Quick on us.
Also, per Extra Skater, Willie Mitchell was a 12.5% Corsi and Scott Hannan went 92.9%? Sure.
Game 3 - Tampa Bay vs. Montreal - Sunday @ 4:00 p.m. Pacific
The hook: Sorry, but I think this is going to be a hell of an exciting series and worth watching every minute, despite Glenn Healy. I sometimes think that the quality of team uniforms does affect my enjoyment of a game, and this is the best matchup as far as I'm concerned, with simple designs and contrasting colours, loud buildings, and exciting forwards with questionable defensive support. I love the Eastern Conference.