Things about David Booth


Yesterday Thomas wrote a very scary post about David Booth’s on-ice shooting percentage numbers, where he addresses the possibility that “significantly below average at driving on-ice shooting percentage”.

Well, I’m not too sure what I think of that. When we mention “shooting percentage” or “save percentage” around here, which commonly regress to a certain mean, a lot of people interpret that as “shot quality” which means that better quality shots yield higher shooting percentages. I’m not sure whether I buy that. Booth had extremely good numbers if you count “quality shots” explicitly, as Thom and I did throughout this year, as expressed here in our year-end plus/minus scoring chance differential.

Today, I listed a bunch of forwards over at the Legion of Blog who scored fewer goals per 60 minutes than Booth and played more. Booth’s offensive abilities are totally understanded: He was 84th among forwards with at least 40 games this year in goals per 60 minutes. A lot of his problems tend to be that his linemates don’t shoot particularly well, or whatever. His underlying numbers are exceptional.

But what is he worth? Is 16 goals and 30 points worth $4.25M? Probably not, but when you consider that Booth only played 62 games. What more, he had 16 goals in 56 games with the Vancouver Canucks, so if you eliminate the parts of the season that don’t count (ie: ones he played with Florida) you’re golden. You have a guy who scored 23 goals per 82 games, which is pretty respectable for a 2nd line forward whose powerplay time melted away this season to the tune of 125:32, which cost him about 4 goals, according to Booth’s team-high PP scoring rate.

Who compares with Booth? I checked for forwards who have similar underlying statistics to Booth, in Relative Corsi, Corsi Rel QoC, Ozone% and Goals/60 this season. The closest name I came up with was Andrew Ladd, who captained Winnipeg this season and made $4.4M.

Here’s the full list of closest comparables:

NAME  TEAM  POS  Cor Rel QoC Corsi Rel Ozone % G/60  $ Hit
Daniel Sedin VAN LW 0.363 22.5 79.6 0.98  $6,100,000.00
Daniel Alfredsson OTT RW 0.280 13.4 58.3 0.85  $4,875,000.00
Andrew Ladd WPG LW 0.487 17.1 57.8 1.08  $4,400,000.00
David Booth VAN LW 0.407 16.1 58.4 0.91  $4,250,000.00
Nathan Horton BOS RW 0.281 16.6 56.0 1.10  $4,000,000.00
Chris Kunitz PIT LW 0.467 14.7 62.1 1.03  $3,750,000.00
Taylor Hall EDM LW 0.858 15.2 56.5 0.87  $3,750,000.00
Justin Williams L.A RW 0.654 16.1 52.9 0.68  $3,650,000.00
Patric Hornqvist NSH LW 0.449 16.8 54.8 1.17  $3,083,000.00
Alex Burrows VAN RW 0.568 16.1 73.8 1.23  $2,000,000.00
Lee Stempniak CGY LW 0.437 10.5 49.4 0.94 UFA

I wouldn’t say this is scientifically precise, but these are guys who saw similar results in similar situations to Booth. Other than Burrows and Hornqvist, who I believe are two exceptional value guys, the going rate for an above-average play-driving second-line winger appears to be about $4M.

So if Booth is overpaid, it isn’t by a whole heck of a lot for the results he drives. As for total production, adding up “G/$MM” over at NHLNumbers, you get 3.75 goals per million spend on Booth, which is right around where Rick Nash, Brad Richards, Jeff Carter, Anze Kopitar, Steve Ott and Alex Tanguay are, for some big names. He’s 275th out of 363 guys that NHL Numbers lists. That isn’t good, but there’s no right way to do this because there are a lot of guys who are on rookie deals.

I’ll concede Booth may be a overpaid from a purely offensive standpoint, but that’s with absurdly bad puckluck over the last few seasons. His defensive value is sublime; only Chris Higgins had a higher zone-adjusted scoring chance differential this season than Booth, and his tied-Fenwick rate of 60.2% was the highest on the team.

  • MattyFranchise

    I’ve always thought its best to give players a full year to adapt to a new team.

    I’m far from writing Booth off yet – and it appears you are too. While some of the trends over a long term are concerning I have faith he’ll improve next year.

    Personally, despite him not scoring a glut I always thought he looked dangerous, opened space for others, and was a solid physical player in the post season.