nhl trade rumors

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Out With The Old, In With The Young

Yesterday Canucks’ GM Mike Gills finally addressed the top six forward issue that the team has had recently by acquiring David Booth from Florida. For the last couple of seasons it has been a rotating door on Vancouver’s second line. Ryan Kesler has been the only constant while Coach AV has been attempting to find the right fit. A couple seasons back it appeared that Mason Raymond and Mikael Samuelsson were the right partners since they had career seasons, but that all dwindled last year, due to inconsistency and injuries.

It became clear early this season that a new face would be very beneficial, given one spot was all but spoken for by either Cody Hodgson or Chris Higgins. I think very highly of these two, and like the early chemistry they’ve had with Kesler. But at the end of the day, if we can have the luxury of Higgins on the third line, that would really solidify the top 9. I think this was a great deal on so many levels and I’ll tell you why.
First off, good riddance to the departure of the old men. I, along with most Vancouverites, will shed no tears at the trade of Sturm and Samuelsson. I predicted both would have good seasons, since they appeared healthy and motivated, however, I will admit that I was truly mistaken. Sturm seems to have no gas left in the tank, and Mikael’s injury has hindered his productivity immensely. I will say this, the one thing I will miss is the fact that Samuelsson was the only Canuck that had a Stanley Cup ring, and he had proven clutch in the playoffs, but that is something the team will need to live without, and WIN without.
I digress, now back to Booth. Here is a player who has been dying for a fresh start and someone real to play with. Enter Ryan Kesler. Once again Gillis has demonstrated his eagerness to focus on chemistry and team morale by acquiring one of Kelser’s old linemates and good friends. Talent is extremely important but often chemistry is the main ingredient for success. Booth has strong size and finishing ability. In his 5 year career he has scored over 20 goals three times, one of which was 31 goal season. He appears to have that Kesler-like drive and work ethic which will hopefully spread to the rest of the team. Throw in Cody Hodgson on the other wing and you have a line with a set-up man, and two power-forwards with some grit and finishing ability. Sounds good to me. The way I see it, Higgins should be bumped down to the third line to play with Hansen and Malhotra. Again, great combination of speed, strength, passion, grit and some scoring prowess. This trade has made not only our top 6 stronger, but arguably strengthened our top 9 forwards even more. Add in the pleasant surprise 4th line of Lapierre, Weise and Volpatti and the team is looking dangerous.
This move was also interesting for me since I’ve been reading/hearing David Booth’s name linked to Vancouver for at least a couple years. It’s no surprise really given his history with Kesler and that Mike Gillis has a routine of trading with Florida almost every season (see Ballard & Higgins). There are some other details that should not be ignored. David Booth has suffered two concussions in the last couple of years so that will be an ongoing concern, especially if he takes another hit. Risk number one. Also, he has a similar salary to Ballard, paying him $4.2 Million over the next 4 seasons. That’s not a small contract, especially if he does not play up to it, or suffers another injury. Risk number two. Lost in all this is Steven Reinprecht, who has become a journeyman NHLer who once had potential. At age 35, his career is likely in the minors, but come playoff time (as Elliotte Friedman of CBC suggested) it would be advantageous for the Canucks to call up Steven, since he is a veteran centerman and salary cap restraints are irrelevant come playoff time. Finally, this trade has freed up about $500,000 in cap space for Vancouver, which is always a positive.
Overall, a very smart and exciting transaction. Given the Canucks may have a “hangover” of sorts, injecting some new blood is always a great idea. Additionally, doing so with a young, talented player who has never experienced playoff action is wise. There is some risks involved in this deal, but I believe the potential reward outweighs those in a big way.
Written By: Michael Elias of http://hockeywithme.com

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