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Panthers deal David Booth to Canucks; Tallon not crazy

Greg Wyshynski
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After Dale Tallon's free-agent spending spree of Summer 2011, the Florida Panthers roster had undergone an extreme makeover. Stephen Weiss and David Booth were two of the only holdovers from previous administrations, but Coach Kevin Dineen didn't believe things would get weird: "I sure hadn't forgotten about them. I don't think anyone in hockey forgot those two played for the Panthers. They are both very important to our future success here.''

Weiss is centering the Panthers' top line. David Booth … is now a Vancouver Canuck. Things got weird.

From the Canucks, a noteworthy deal on Saturday night:

Vancouver Canucks President & General Manager Mike Gillis announced today that the Canucks have acquired left wing David Booth, centre Steve Reinprecht and a third round draft pick in 2013 from the Florida Panthers in exchange for Mikael Samuelsson and Marco Sturm.

Booth, 26, played 82 games with the Panthers in 2010.11 recording 23 goals and 17 assists (23-17-40) for 40 points plus 26 penalty minutes. In 309 career games with Florida, Booth has recorded 167 points (87-80-167) and 127 penalty minutes. The six-foot, 212-pound winger was originally selected 53rd overall by the Panthers in the 2004 NHL Entry Draft. A native of Detroit, Michigan Booth won gold with the U.S. World Junior Championship team in 2004 and the 2002 IIHF U18 team.  Reinprecht, 35, played 29 games with Florida (4-6-10) and 18 games for Adler Mannheim (4-9-13) of the DEL in 2010.11.

In 663 career NHL games Reinprecht has recorded 382 points (140-242-382) and 186 penalty minutes. The Edmonton, Alberta native has played in 50 postseason games scoring 10 goals and 10 assists (10-10-20). Undrafted, Reinprecht made his NHL debut with the Los Angeles Kings. The six-foot, 195-pound centre has played for five NHL teams including: Los Angeles, Colorado, Calgary, Phoenix and Florida.

This could be a huge winner for the Canucks. But it'll help Florida, too.

Booth was signed to a six-year deal in 2009, predating Tallon's arrival in Sunrise, with an annual cap hit of $4.5 million through 2015. At the time, assistant GM Randy Sexton said:

"We're just delighted," assistant general manager Randy Sexton said. "I think David embodies everything that we believe is the ideal Panther. ... For us, it was critical to get this guy signed."

Reinprecht was buried in the AHL.

For the Canucks, Sturm had been a free-agent disappointment early in the season and a recent healthy scratch. Samuelsson had featured prominently on the power play and played top-six minutes. He was a significant piece of the roster for Vancouver, playing with Ryan Kesler and on occasion with the Sedins along with quarterbacking the power play.

But you have to give to get. Samuelsson is going to fit well for the Panthers. If he doesn't, he's a free agent next summer. So is Sturm.

Here's Mike Gillis on the trade:

As Gillis mentioned, Booth is tight with Ryan Kesler. He also mentioned he had a "chance meeting" with Booth this offseason. Must have made quite an impression, eh?

At 6-0 and 212 pounds, Booth is the kind of power forward the Canucks lacked during last year's run to the Final. He hit 31 goals in 2008-09, was felled by a concussion the following season (thanks, Mike Richards) and then rebounded with 23 goals (and a minus-31) on a terrible team last year. He was already a minus-6 this season. He's played around 15 minutes a night so far this season.

If you're looking for Dale Tallon logic here, consider this: Booth was someone else's cornerstone, someone else's building block. Booth, and his long-term deal, simply weren't in the plans. (He had a no-trade clause that kicked in next summer, per George Richards.) For a team that added so much payroll so quickly, clearing out these contracts made fiscal, if not hockey, sense.

Plus, it's a shock-and-awe move early in the season for a Panthers team that needs to be better than it's been.

What the Canucks get: The next James Neal, if Booth lives up to the promise of his potential and is reinvigorated by the change in scenery. Also, he hunts bears with a bow and arrow. Welcome to British Columbia, sir.

Not for nothing, but the Canucks seem pretty fond of trading with the Panthers. (See the full info graphic here.)

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