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David Booth Goes from Mr. Sunshine to Mr. Drizzle: Florida Panthers Send Popular Booth to Canucks

Mrsunshine

David Booth obviously didn't see this coming.

The popular Panthers winger joked about his Michigan State football team in the morning and showed up to the BankAtlantic Center early to do his workout.

Then he was traded.

Booth apparently broke down in tears when informed that he was traded to Vancouver in exchange for veteran wingers Mikael Samuelsson and Marco Sturm. Booth left a message for his teammates on the dry erase board in the locker room.

The trade was finalized not long before the Panthers took the ice for their pregame skate. Florida ended up beating the visiting Islanders 4-2.

“Anytime this happens as you're going out for a game, yeah, it's shocking,'' center Stephen Weiss said. “I would have liked to have been able to see him and wish him luck, say goodbye. That's the toughest part, not being able to do that.''

Booth, who turns 27 next month, had struggled this season notching just one assist. While tied for fourth on the team with 14 shots, he was tied for ninth in scoring. And his minus-6 rating was worst on the team.

While the Panthers unload Booth's big contract, GM Dale Tallon said the move was about performance. He hadn't been happy with the Panthers of late and didn't think Booth was performing at a high level.

“Those are tough decisions you have to make,'' Tallon said. “We have to move on. He’s going to a great organization, a great team and has a good chance to help them get to where they want to go.”

Samuelsson, who won the Stanley Cup with 2008 with Detroit and played in Florida from 2003-04, has a goal and two assists in six games. Sturm has no goals nor assists in six games. Florida also sent minor league center Steven Reinprecht and a third round pick (which Florida originally got from the Canucks in 2011 for Chris Higgins) to Vancouver.

Prior to Saturday's win, the Panthers had been shut out in consecutive losses to Washington and Buffalo.

“A lot of things come into play. We’re in the performance business and I was not happy with our team’s performance, especially the last two games,'' Tallon said.

"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 are expected to join the Panthers in Montreal. Florida plays the Canadiens on Monday night. Sturm will not have visa issues; Samuelsson will need to get one while the Panthers are in Ottawa next week.

Booth, a fan favorite, had four more years left on his contract at $4.25 million per season. Samuelsson and Sturm make about a combined $4.5 million this season and could be free agents on July 1. With Reinprecht's $2 million salary thrown in, Florida saves about $2 million in payroll while taking on a small cap hit as Reinprecht – who was playing in the AHL – didn't count against Florida's cap.

“Nothing to do with contract. Nothing to do at all,'' Tallon said. “We’re taking on more money in this deal. It gives our young guys an opportunity to make our lineup moving forward. It gives us more freedom and flexibility as we move forward. .-.-. On the NHL [cap] side, we’re taking on more money.”

The Panthers awarded Booth with a six-year contract in 2009 after he had 31 goals in his second full season and 56 total. But the 2009-10 season was a washout for Booth as he suffered two major concussions and played in just 28 games.

Booth bounced back last season, playing in all 82 games as he scored 23 goals with 17 assists. Booth was a disappointing minus-31, however.

There had been rumors that the Panthers had been trying to move Booth – because of his contract – for some time, although Tallon denied that on Saturday. He did say a deal with the Canucks had been in the works during the week. Booth did not have to waive a no-trade clause to go to the Canucks.

Tallon said that if the Panthers don't get going, more moves could be made.

“We treat everybody equally. They better pull up their socks,'' he said. “It doesn’t matter if they signed as free agents or not. It’s about production, it’s about performance and it’s about the Panthers.”

PREVIOUS STORY

When David Booth wasn't on the ice for Florida's pregame skate on Saturday, all kinds of speculation began. Was Booth benched for being a minus-6 with no goals and only one assist through six games? Was he hurt? 

Turns out, the Panthers traded him.

General manager Dale Tallon said Saturday that the popular Booth was sent west to the Vancouver Canucks; Florida gets former Panthers winger Mikael SammySamuelsson, 34, and 33-year-old Marco Sturm in return. Booth turns 27 next month.

Florida also sent minor league center Steven Reinprecht and a third round pick (which Florida originally got from the Canucks in 2011 for Chris Higgins). 

BoothBooth, who was joking about his alma mater Michigan State's chances against Wisconsin hours before the deal, couldn't be reached for comment. 

“I think he’s sad. It’s not easy. I like him a lot, he’s a great person,'' Tallon said. “Those are tough decisions you have to make. We have to move on. He’s going to a great organization, a great team and has a good chance to help them get to where they want to go.”

Samuelsson and Sturm are expected to join the Panthers in Montreal. Florida plays the Canadiens on Monday night. Sturm will not have visa issues; Samuelsson will need to get one while the Panthers are in Ottawa next week. 

“A lot of things come into play. We’re in the performance business and I was not happy with our team’s performance, especially the last two games,'' GM Dale Tallon said, referring to the Panthers' consecutive 3-0 losses to Washington and Buffalo. 

“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.”

Booth, a fan favorite, had four more years left on his Booth2contract at $4.25 million per season. Samuelsson and Sturm make about a combined $4.5 million this season and could be free agents on July 1. With Reinprecht's $2 million salary thrown in, Florida saves about $2 million in payroll while taking on a small cap hit as Reinprecht – who was playing in the AHL – didn't count against Florida's cap.

“Nothing to do with contract. Nothing to do at all,'' Tallon said. “We’re taking on more money in this deal. It gives our young guys an opportunity to make our lineup moving forward. It gives us more freedom and flexibility as we move forward. .-.-. On the NHL [cap] side, we’re taking on more money.”

Booth definitely struggled this season. While tied for fourth on the team with 14 shots, he was tied for ninth with just one point. Samuelsson, who won the Stanley Cup with 2008 with Detroit and played in Florida from 2003-04, has a goal and two assists in six games. Sturm has no goals nor assists in six games.

The Panthers awarded Booth with a six-year contract in 2009 after he had 31 goals in his second full season and 56 total. But the 2009-10 season was a washout for Booth as he suffered two major concussions and played in just 28 games. 

Booth bounced back last season, playing in all 82 games and scored 23 goals with 17 assists.

There had been rumors that the Panthers had been trying to move Booth – because of his contract – for some time, although Tallon denied that on Saturday.

He did say a deal with the Canucks had been in the works during the week. Booth did not have to waive a no-trade clause to go to the Canucks.

Tallon said that if the Panthers don't get going, more moves could be made. 

“We treat everybody equally. They better pull up their socks,'' he said. “It doesn’t matter if they signed as free agents or not. It’s about production, it’s about performance and it’s about the Panthers.”


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