It's been a busy Tuesday for the Toronto Maple Leafs. First, they announced the dismissal of two members of their front office, as well as the addition of 28-year-old wunderkind Kyle Dubas.
Then, mere hours later, they added to their on-ice product as well, signing lovable weirdo David Booth to a one-year, $1.1 million deal.
It's a low-risk move, a steal, and it, like the Dubas signing, speaks to a team beginning to get a sense of how to use analytics to their advantage. (One wonders if the two acquisitions are in any way connected. I'd hazard a guess that they are.)
Booth had one year remaining on his deal with the Vancouver Canucks before the team opted to buy him out, presumably because he didn't score nearly enough for a guy making north of $4 milion dollars. He put up just 9 goals and 16 points in 66 games.
But while that kind of production isn't worth that kind of money, Booth is hardly without value. In fact, the moment he was bought out, he became the sort of guy any team, the Canucks included, should want. From Pass it to Bulis:
While this makes sense, it’s a shame to see Booth go, because with this buyout, he instantly becomes the type of guy a team like the Canucks would be wise to pursue.
He’s been a positive possession player ever since he came to Vancouver. He had a 58.4% corsi for the Canucks in 2011-12, a 60.5% corsi in 2012-13, and a 52% corsi in 2013-14. His offense was subpar, sure, but there were injury troubles all along the way, and by his own admission, he didn’t really get up to speed following the lockout until late last season. There’s enough evidence in his underliers and his story to suggest that his days as a 20-goal scorer aren’t up. He’s worth a gamble.
And even if Booth doesn't hit 20 goals with the Leafs, he's likely to tilt the ice in their favour from the third line. He's strong, he's good in the corners, and he gains the zone with relative ease. That's immensely valuable, even if his finishing ability isn't where it once was. It's not worth $4.25 million, of course, but I'd argue that it's worth far more than the $1.1 million the Leafs are paying him.
Finally, Roberto Luongo approves:
He refers, of course, to the time Booth took a slackline to the groin, then uploaded the video to Instagram. Oh yeah. He's super weird.