David Booth is the latest bought-out forward to sign a team-friendly deal on the rebound. The former Vancouver Canucks forward landed with the Toronto Maple Leafs on a one-year deal worth a reported $1.1 million.
Booth was arguably one of the best remaining unrestricted free agents on the market. He was bought out of the final year on his six-year contract previously signed with the Florida Panthers. Booth was due to make $4.75 million in 2014-15, but will be paid $1.853 million over the next two seasons per the terms of his compliance buyout.
The 29-year-old forward has been slowed by injuries in what had started out as an awfully promising career. Booth scored 31 goals in the 2008-09 season, but was severely concussed on what was then a legal body check by then-Flyer Mike Richards early in the 2009-10 season. Though he put up 23 goals in 2010-11, he hasn't quite been the same player and has only completed one full 82-game campaign in the years since.
Last year with the Canucks, Booth appeared in 66 games and posted 19 points, but was a positive possession player with a Corsi percentage of 52 while starting many of his shifts in the defensive zone. He was slowed in the middle of the season by a groin injury, but managed to finish the year out healthy.
Booth will help the Maple Leafs depth at forward and his strong two-way play will fit well. The price of his deal gives the Leafs a chance to get some serious value from their most recent signing. If he ever regains the scoring touch that saw him put up two 20-plus goal seasons in addition to his 31-goal campaign, that would be a bonus at this point. The one-year term minimizes the risk of signing an oft-injured player as well.
Though, minimizing risk should also include a clause that prevents Booth from walking any tight ropes or slack lines...
If the Maple Leafs are looking for character, they found one.
The former second-round pick has 113 career goals and 218 pints in 443 NHL games split between the Panthers and Canucks.