David Booth has been extraordinarily unlucky over the past couple of seasons, both in terms of his health and in terms of the bounces. Sometimes, however, the slings and arrows of outrageous misfortune can in fact work in one’s favour. Booth’s slow-start in Miami this October was driven by the percentages, and were partly what caused him to be shipped off to Vancouver in exchange for Mikael Samuelsson and Marco Sturm. Upon his arrival in the Northwest, Booth’s luck didn’t change: it took him seven games, twenty-two shots and one hell of a second effort to tally his first goal as a member of the Canucks.
Read on past the jump!
Hockey fans in the Vancouver market took a while to warm-up to the well-tanned and well-coiffed American born power-forward, but with his speed and his array of power-moves – Booth is changing minds in a hurry. Since the trade, Booth has played 30 games and scored 10 goals while contributing 11 assists. That’s pretty impressive, and over an 82 game pace equates to 57 points. As is so often the case, however, the counting stats only skim the surface of the value Booth has provided to Vancouver’s hockey club.
Booth’s run of success on Vancouver’s second-line aside: his luck hasn’t changed for the better yet. He has been harassed again this season by the injury bug, and missed six weeks after Colorado’s Kevin Porter stuck his knee out on him in early December.
Meanwhile, the percentages have continued to be unkind to Booth. His personal shooting percentage (13.5 with Vancouver) is four points higher than his career average, but his even-strength on-ice shooting percentage is still an unsustainably low 6.1%. Luck has been going against him at the other end of the rink as well: while Canucks goaltenders have a .928 even-strength save percentage overall, when Booth is on the ice that dips to .912%. That is not an indictment of Booth’s defensive play: that’s just bad bounces over a small sample.
That Booth is carrying a positive goal differential, and producing at (nearly) a 60 point pace despite a 971 PDO, is very impressive. The bounces will even-out eventually which, is exciting because the man with the tan has a very high shot volume (2.46 SOG per game), and is easily the Canucks best possession player at even-strength. Because of this, inevitably, there will be a correction (whether or not it comes over the balance of this season or next season) and Booth will begin to score in bunches. If we’re lucky, that correction will come during a playoff series.
Even without the bounces, Booth brings several things to the table that the Canucks really didn’t possess last season. In particular, his power-forward traits (his effectiveness in a net-presence role, and his net-crashing style) will surely prove useful in the postseason. David Booth isn’t Shea Weber, and he isn’t Allen Iverson – but if he isn’t "the answer," then at least he has come correct.