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Does Panthers' David Booth belong among current "top ten" American players?

 

Booth1_medium

 


David Booth

#10 / Left Wing / Florida Panthers

6-0

212

Nov 24, 1984


There's not a single member of PanthersNation (ugh, I know) who will overestimate the value of winger David Booth to the Florida organization. Bringing a sweet scoring touch, a work ethic second to none, and a winning smile have been a breath of serious fresh air to fans of the Cats, all too used to the talented yet dour likes of year after vanilla year of Olli Jokinen, Jacques Martin, and Jay Bouwmeester. Of course, everyone appreciates the solemn reverence of stoic bromides such as "We've got to play sixty minutes" and all, but a character such as Booth can - and has - reinvigorated the base in a way nothing less than a fresh-faced, all-American, boy-next-door could.

 

Short of carrying his club to the postseason, anyway. But enough silly talk.

He's done some good work on the ice as well by the way, now going into his third full season donning the Screaming Puma Concolor Coryi, scooping up 100 points in his past 145 games. Tight.

A recent article at NHL.com by Mike Morreale listed the "ten best" (active) U.S.-born players, and after the SuperLink of Madness, we'll take a look at why Michigan-product Booth is not among them...

The list - combining forward, defense, and goaltending positions - is highly speculative and does not appear to be based upon any inherent "system", i.e. point totals, time-on-ice, power play assists, and so forth. Simply a group of names which have gained traction recently. Nothing is wrong with this, of course, but perhaps a ten-best forwards, ten-best goalies, etc. would be a more objective way to fairly evaluate and place what is honestly a very decent bunch of players.

We hockey fans are like the rest of western civilization, post-MTV: we love our lists. Here's what Morreale has produced, as far as American-born forwards are concerned, and their stats from 2008-09 (cuz, again, I'm not certain what the criteria for judgement happens to be)...

  1. Zach Parise, NJD   82gp 45g-49a-94p +30 24pim 14ppg 16ppa.  The undisputed Captain America, Parise destroyed the league last season, all before he turned 25. Where are the "trap" jokes now? Oh, and his 94 points were 29 more than the previous year, with but one more game played. Spectacular. Club finished: 51-27-4, First in Atlantic Division
  2. Patrick Kane, CHI   80gp 25g-45a-70p -2 42pim 13ppg 22ppa.  Seventy points from a second-year player is never a disappointment...unless 72 were hit in the first. No matter; Kane will be a gamer for a long time to come in the Windy City. Imagine him on a power play line with Hossa... Club finished: 46-24-12, Second in Central Division
  3. Jamie Langenbrunner, NJD   81gp 29g-40a-69p +25 56pim 6ppg 11ppa.   Second-round pick of the Devils - in 1993 - turned in an unexpectedly positive outing following injury woes the previous year. Club finished: 51-27-4, First in Atlantic Division
  4. Phil Kessel, BOS   70gp 36g-24a-60p +23 16pim 8ppg 7ppa. There's a reason I'd like to see this guy in Florida; and it goes beyond his six game-winning goals; he's pretty good at even strength. there's a serious chance he'll have another address come September. Club finished: 53-19-10, First in Northeast Division
  5. Dustin Brown, LAK   80gp 24g-29a-53p -15 64pim 7ppg 11ppa. Good numbers on a very mediocre - but rebuilding - Kings team in 2009, hence the plus/minus. A ferociously physical player. Club finished: 34-37-11, Fifth in Pacific Division
  6. Paul Stastny, COL   45gp 11g-25a-36p -9 22pim 7ppg 12ppa. The only real victim of injuries, though his 78 points in 82 games two seasons ago displays his raw potential. Could be another long year in Denver for the almost-certain future captain of the Avs. Club finished: 32-45-5, Fifth in Northwest Division

For comparative purposes:

  • David Booth, FLA   72gp 31g-29a-60p +10 38pim 11ppg 5ppa. Club finished: 41-30-11, Third in Southeast

Those ten games lost to injury most probably would have resulted in a conservatively-speaking additional four points, which may or may not have turned the tide for him. Head-to-head with LA's Brown, this certainly should have been the case. Yes, Brown is a highly-touted first-rounder, but is he pound-for-pound "better" than Booth? Time will tell, and enjoy the obligatory highlight video...