The Vancouver Canucks acquired left wing David Booth, center Steve Reinprecht and a third-round draft pick in 2013 from the Florida Panthers on Saturday for veteran forwards Marco Sturm and Mikael Samuelsson.
Booth had 23 goals and 17 assists last season — the first time he has played all 82 games with the Panthers. He has one assist this season in six games.
The 26-year-old, who missed 54 games two seasons ago with concussion problems, has 87 goals, 167 points and 127 penalty minutes in 309 games with the Panthers.
”It’s an opportunity to have a top-six forward and a left winger to play with Ryan Kesler, Canucks general manager Mike Gillis said of Booth, picked 53rd overall in 2004.
”We were looking to try to get a little bit younger and a little quicker. This should give us an opportunity for a little more balance.”
It’s a deal Gillis said he’d talked about for six months, indicating he wasn’t worried about Booth’s two previous concussions and injury history.
”He hasn’t been hurt at all since he returned,” Gillis said.
Booth has three more seasons after this one on a contract worth $4.25 million per year.
But Gillis said Reinprecht, a 35-year-old veteran of 663 games, and his $2.175 million salary will be sent to Chicago of the American Hockey League, where it doesn’t count against the salary cap.
The Panthers entered Saturday night’s game against the New York Islanders coming off two shutout losses.
”A lot of things come into play,” Panthers GM Dale Tallon said of the decision to make the deal.
”We’re in the performance business and I was not happy with our team’s performance, especially the last two games. I wasn’t going to sit still and let this fester and I want to send a message and I want to make changes and I want to get better. We felt as far as an organization we get two top NHL players and it allows David to rekindle his career and go to a winning team in Vancouver and regain the touch that he had in previous years.”
Samuelsson and Sturm were both scratched for Vancouver’s 3-2 overtime win over Minnesota on Saturday afternoon after struggling with injuries and performance early this season.
Signed to a $2.25-million, one-year deal after two knee surgeries, Sturm had yet to find the stride that made him an eight-time 20-goal scorer.
Florida is his fifth team in three seasons — he was on three last season — after surgery on both knees over three years.
Samuelsson, a 34-year-old in the final season of a three-year, $7.5 million contract, is coming off abdominal surgery during last season’s playoffs. He won a Stanley Cup with Detroit in 2008. He sat out Vancouver’s previous game Thursday due to what coach Alain Vigneault labeled ”stiffness” at the time.
”They’re two useful NHL top-notch people that can play,” Tallon said of Sturm and Samuelsson.
”They’re solid defensively and offensively. Samuelsson won a a Cup in Detroit and is coming off back-to-back 50-point seasons. He’s a real useful player. He can play the point on the power play and has size and a big shot that we sorely need. And Sturm gives us a player that can kill penalties. He’s scored 20 or more goals seven times in his career and it just gives us more options and more depth in the organization.”