*on a conditioning loan.
No, this does not mean that David Booth is going to hang out in the American Hockey League until his contract is bought out. Conditioning loans are quite common and can’t be done without the player’s consent, according to the relevant article of the Collective Bargaining Agreement.
13.8 Conditioning Loan. Unless a Player consents, he shall not be Loaned on a Conditioning Loan to a minor league club. Such Conditioning Loan shall not extend for more than fourteen (14) consecutive days. The Commissioner may take whatever steps he deems necessary to investigate the circumstances under which a Player is Loaned on a Conditioning Loan. If the Commissioner has reason to believe or determines that the Club has used the Conditioning Loan to evade Waivers, or otherwise Circumvent any provision of this Agreement, he may take such disciplinary action against the Club, as he deems appropriate. The Player shall continue, during the period of such Conditioning Loan, to receive the same Paragraph 1 NHL Salary, and be entitled to the same benefits, that he would have received had he continued to play with the Club.
Who knows how long this stint will be, although my guess is Booth will be back skating with the Canucks sooner rather than later. Booth had actually said he was expecting to play on the team’s upcoming four-game road trip but apparently the coaching and medical staffs disagreed.
Booth has had a divisive tenure as a Canuck. He looked to be a sure thing after being traded from Florida at the start of the 2011-2012 season. Despite no history of lower-body injuries, Booth has had four in his brief time in Vancouver, and despite scoring 16 goals in 56 games with the team in 2012, an excellent pace for a second liner, Booth’s offensive game has tanked since then. He’s gotten no real chance to string a bunch of games together thanks to injuries, and when he does play, well, he’s shot at 5.1% in that frame.
The funny thing is that even though Booth has seemingly not taken a shot in the 2013-2014 season, he’s played reasonably well without the puck. The Canucks have out-shot the opposition 64-49 when Booth is on the ice, and despite missing the last four games, he still leads the team with a +4 penalty differential. Regardless, there’s still so much wasted offensive talent when he’s had the puck this season. Canucks Army’s Patrick Johnson threw out the possibility before this most recent of ailments that there was still something going on with him, since Booth has gone from taking just under 3 shots on goal per game through his career to just 12 in his first 11 games.
I don’t see why Booth isn’t just as good of a candidate to fill in and score 10-15 goals for the remainder of the season as Jeremy Welsh, or Darren Archibald or who have you. I’d like to see him put something together and certainly don’t think that he’s as bad as his boxcar numbers indicate. Good hockey players don’t become bad hockey players overnight, but Booth appeared to do just that.
“Best guess” gets thrown out the window when talking about this player. Maybe he’ll have a short conditioning assignment and re-join the team before the road trip is up? Either rate, he can’t stay in Utica past the 18th.