Potatoe1 wrote:But he can score him some goals,,,,,,,
8 goals in his last 17 games.
That trade is starting to look like a total steal.
His stick-handling is fine by the way.
It's obviously not at an elite level, and certainly not up to par compared to his line mate and fellow American Kesler, but I don't see a player who has trouble carrying the puck through the neutral zone, nor does he have many issues driving to the net with the puck on his stick or even making a move or two to get a shot off.
Booth is looking like the player the Panthers signed to that big extension, and by the summer, people will laugh when reminded that we gave up only Sturm and Samuelsson and somehow ended up coming away with a 3rd round pick as well.
I don't think we should expect Booth to be a flashy player who carries the puck on a string, because he's never been that type of player. He's an incredibly strong and determined player who flourishes in the corners, in-front of the net, backs off defences with his speed, drives the net and has a good, hard shot. He's basically everything the Canucks were lacking in their top 6.
For all the concerns about his defensive game, he's come a long way since he first joined the team. Last night, there were a few instances where he jumped passing lanes, back-checked hard and picked-up the open man on the wing to take away the cross-ice pass. These are little things that make players reliable in their own end, and Booth is improving in that aspect. The Canucks system that's often described as consisting of a "tight five-man unit" is beneficial for fast and aggressive forwards. The back-check and play in their own zone allows the speedy wingers to pick up speed through the neutral zone instead of just hanging back in the neutral zone and waiting for a pass from their own end.
I was getting extremely excited with the Booth-Kes combo before prayer boy decided to cut to go into the slot with his head down, but since returning they've picked up where they left off. I don't want to get ahead of myself, but seeing how well he fits this team and that 2nd line, there's no reason why he shouldn't be a consistent +30 goal scorer here.
What I think that 2nd line needs to work on is reading off one-another a bit better, and that will come with more familiarity. The more Booth keeps succeeding in-front of the net, the more the opposition will focus on preventing that from happen. Kesler has a wicked wrister, but so far this season it's been taken away with aggressive close-outs and convergence on Kes as he gets into the offensive zone in areas where his shot was effective last year, i.e. the high-slot, or just outside of it. What that's done is allow Booth to find seams to the net and has been able to win battles down-low. Once the defences start shifting back a bit, Kesler needs to find openings in that area and get his shot off more often.
We're still in the early stage of this 2nd line playing together, and all signs point to them being even much better down the road.