There have been rumblings about trades early in the season, but getting a big one so soon is a fun surprise although the trade partners are very familiar with each other.
Vancouver acquired power forward David Booth, centerman Steve Reinprecht, and a 2013 third round pick from the Florida Panthers in exchange for forwards Mikael Samuelsson and Marco Sturm. Booth and Reinprecht are the 10th and 11th ex-Panthers acquired by the Canucks since Mike Gillis took over as GM of the team.
Booth was one of the Panthers young cornerstones that GM Dale Tallon refused to part with at the deadline last season hoping that he and Stephen Weiss would be the young guys needed to help turn the Panthers around. As it turns out, Tallon got to wait around for a deal that sends two veteran forwards to them instead.
At 26 years-old, Booth helps the Canucks get the forceful and younger second line power forward to team up with Ryan Kesler and give them a legitimate goal scoring threat. Booth had his career put on hold after a wicked head shot from Mike Richards back in October of 2009. So far this season, Booth has one assist and is a -6 for the Panthers. Those numbers should turn around fast in Vancouver.
Florida giving up on Booth is puzzling. Either Tallon knows something the Canucks don’t or he’s cashing out on Booth to get veterans whom he knows what he’ll get out of them. The other side of that, however, is that Sturm has looked like he’s on the wrong side of his career for the past two seasons and Samuelsson is about as streaky and moody of a player as it gets.
This deal seems like a steal for Vancouver. Taking on Reinprecht is just a formality as Reinprecht had been put on waivers by the Panthers before and is already headed to Vancouver’s AHL affiliate.
With Samuelsson and Sturm about this close to being done as productive wingers, the focus is on Booth to see what he brings (or doesn’t) to Vancouver. If Booth regains his old goal-scoring form, this is a runaway steal for the Canucks.
For the third time this offseason, the San Jose Sharks and Minnesota Wild have completed a trade. Unlike their previous two deals, this one is just a blip on the radar screen as San Jose acquires forward James Sheppard from Minnesota in exchange for a 2013 third round pick.
If you can’t recall seeing much of Sheppard last season, it’s because you didn’t see him at all as he was knocked out for the year after suffering a knee injury in an ATV accident last September. Now that he’s healed up and run out of chances in Minnesota, the Sharks are taking a chance on him that a change of scenery will be just what he needs to not become a full draft bust.
The 2006 first round pick, ninth overall, has had three sub-par seasons with the Wild scoring just 11 goals in 224 games played and totaling 49 points in that time. Sheppard was taken ahead of NHL studs like Michael Grabner, Chris Stewart, and Claude Giroux and after the Wild and former GM Doug Risebrough rushed Sheppard to the NHL at age 19, he’s suffered for it both in fitting into the Wild system and with injuries.
Going to San Jose will give Sheppard an opportunity to turn things around for himself. While the Sharks’ top six forwards are more than set, Michal Handzus and Torrey Mitchell are about the only sure things on their third or fourth lines. With a host of youth eager to win ice time, Sheppard has a chance under coach Todd McLellan to win his favor and find a home on what should be a very good Sharks team.
This trade may not stick out in many people’s memories when compared to the other deals the Wild and Sharks have done. During the 2011 NHL Draft, the teams first paired up to see the Sharks send Devin Setoguchi and prospect Charlie Coyle to Minnesota for Brent Burns. Burns then signed a five year contract extension with the Sharks to make that deal stand out. Later, they did a blockbuster deal sending Dany Heatley to Minnesota in exchange for Martin Havlat.
Safe to say that James Sheppard doesn’t stand out with those other names, but if he asserts himself and finds a home in San Jose and realizes that first round talent, he could be a great pick up for the Sharks. That’s all up to him, however, and he’s got to prove he’s serious about making it in the league. His game in Minnesota certainly never showed that. Here’s to hoping he can at least stay away from the ATV’s in northern California.