It was just yesterday morning, hours after the window for the last wave of compliance buyouts opened up, that we ran a post highlighting the 4 most conceivable ways in which the Vancouver Canucks would choose to utilize this asset that they had in their back pocket until June 30th.
We didn’t have to wait long to find out the answer, as news broke this morning that David Booth – the candidate that led that aforementioned post as the most likely option – has been placed on unconditional waivers.
His turbulent time in Vancouver is officially up, so let’s say farewell.
Using a compliance buyout on Booth’s contract saves the club some money for next season, frees up an additional $4.25 million against the salary cap, and gives the Canucks an additional top-nine roster spot. That latter point is important, because though I think Booth could still be valuable in the right situation, a skill blackhole on the third-line isn’t exactly something that an impotent offensive team like the Canucks require.
The downside of buying out David Booth? This is the final time during the life of the current CBA (which will outlast cockroaches but not Roberto Luongo’s lifetime pact) that teams can use a compliance buyout. Freeing up $4.25 million in space for next season is cool and all, but Booth’s contract is essentially a no-risk proposition. Vancouver might even be able to move him at the deadline for a pick (if Booth has a good year and the club retains some salary).
Trevor Linden and Jim Benning have a variety of different ways they can approach this situation, and with what’ll likely be their first critical move on the job, we’ll assuredly learn a thing or two about how they view the team they’ve inherited and where it fits into the the NHL’s hierarchy.
The Aquilinis are on the hook for slightly over $1.5 million for each of the next two years, but for our purposes, the main point is that the team now has an additional $4.25 million of space to work with. How they allocate those newfound resources this summer will ultimately determine whether this particular move was a hasty, ill-advised one, or one that was just a small part of a larger vision.
While it’s a distinct possibility that the team viewed the PR headache that accompanied Booth as unjustifiable by the numbers and one that could be easily alleviated, this could also potentially provide some insight on the way in which they view themselves. If 2014-15 were going to be a season dedicated to “rebuilding”, it seems like it would’ve made more sense to bring Booth back for the final year on his deal and roll the dice on the odd chance that he reestablishes some semblance of trade value at the deadline for a contender.
Which brings us to this summer, where there are some intriguing wingers set to hit the open market; ones which, most importantly, could help augment an offense that is in desperate need of refurbishing. With this, the money that will surely be freed up should the Ryan Kesler for picks/prospects eventually go through, and the rising cap, Jim Benning and the Canucks will have some flexibility to try some things and be flexible unlike last summer.
With that, though, comes the price of having an extra hole to fill in the lineup. And while you’d imagine that $4.25 million would surely be able to buy you more than 26 goals in 134 games, we see time and time again that there’s no such thing as a sure thing.
The move to acquire David Booth from the Florida Panthers back in 2012 will be looked back upon as a failure around these parts, but it’s hard to fault the thought process behind it. Just like it’s hard to fault the player; his time here was marred by fake outrage, and internet-created controversies over some of the off-ice personal decisions he made, which was only accentuated by the injuries which relegated to a 3rd line, serviceable depth role.
Amongst it all, David Booth managed to remain upbeat and positive, acting like a goofy guy that just wanted to have some fun. He should have no trouble accomplishing that next season when he’s scoring 20 goals in the Eastern Conference.