James O'Brien

Hockey Daily Dose

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Tears of joy from David Booth?

Monday, October 24, 2011

More often than not, practicing patience and making safe choices will help you yield fantasy gold.


Still, it’s not as satisfying to taunt your defeated co-workers after you blandly chose one of the Sedin twins in the first round. One of the great siren calls of any draft or waiver wire pickup is the pursuit of the super-clever choice.


A lot of times you might regret reaching a bit too far with that big hockey brain of yours, but when it comes to interchangeable depth spots, it’s often worth it to go the low-risk, high-reward route.


David Booth’s tearful journey to Vancouver could be a great example of that phenomenon.


In most cases, Florida Panthers "stars" usually flame out after they leave the team. Laugh all you want, but there were plenty of experts who strongly believed that players like Jay Bouwmeester and Olli Jokinen were diamonds in the rough.


Booth hasn't even been a gem in Florida lately, though. He generated a career-high 31 goals and 60 points in 2008-09 but simply hasn’t been the same dangerous scorer since Mike Richards rocked him with a “legal” hit in 2009-10.


Scoring 23 goals and playing all 82 games ranked as promising signs last season, but a 40-point output cannot be called anything but disappointing – especially considering the contract Booth received. Things got really dire this season, though, as he managed a lonely point in six ineffectual games. That poor production prompted GM Dale Tallon to make his millionth trade with Vancouver, leading Booth to gently weep.


So the question is: will you cry tears of joy in early April thanks to your deft decision to bring Booth into the fold?


Frankly, if Booth’s production ends up making or breaking your season, then your team isn’t very good. (Either that or you’re in the kind of ultra-competitive league that borders on the unhealthy.) Still, there’s reason to believe that the Michigan-born power forward can turn his season around.


It’s conceivable that he’ll score more goals if he keeps firing away; Booth sent 280 shots on net last season. If he connects on a higher rate than the mediocre 8.2 shooting percentage he registered last season, he could flirt with 30 goals.


The assists should come a whole lot easier alongside superior teammates, too. If he slides into the second line as expected, he’ll eventually have Ryan Kesler as his center. With all due respect to routinely underrated center Stephen Weiss, there's no one on the Panthers roster who can match Kesler's skill or fire.


Of course, Booth will face far more pressure and scrutiny if he continues to flop like he did in Florida. That’s bad news for the Canucks, who are on the hook for his expensive deal, but the good news is that you can erase that mistake by simply clicking the "drop" button.


Then you can just move on to the next get fantasy rich quick scheme.


More Booth trade fallout

So what’s the fantasy impact for the other prominent players (sorry Steven Reinprecht) in the Booth trade? Let’s take a look.


1. Cody Hodgson is the big loser – it seemed like the Canucks prospect was finally getting a real chance to make an impact in Vancouver, but he's starting to smell like Michael Grabner 2.0.


2. Mikael Samuelsson gets a downgrade in the quality of his teammates, but will probably be more of a go-to guy in Florida. He might even get time at the power play point, but the Panthers are such a work in progress that there’s no guarantee. "Sammy" scored almost 50 goals in his two seasons with the Canucks, so he should at least be on your "watch list" now.


3. Marco Sturm is broken. Stay far, far away from the fragile German.


Is Phil for real?

It’s not like Phil Kessel was just some random guy last season, even if he received the indignity of being chosen last in the All-Star draft. Still, there's no denying that it's surprising that he scored 8 goals and 14 points in just 7 games so far.


So can he keep it up?


No, he’s not going to connect on 32 percent of his shots for the rest of the season. Still, with this outstanding head start, it’s reasonable to expect a 40-goal season and perhaps 70+ points. For that reason, you should follow Corey Abbott’s advice and try to scoop up some of his table scraps in the form of forgotten soul Joffrey Lupul.

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James O'Brien is the Hockey Daily Dose's author and has been a contributor to NBC's Pro Hockey Talk for more than four years. Follow him on Twitter.
Email :James O'Brien

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