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Canucks waive David Booth, expected to buy out low-scoring winger
The Vancouver Canucks have placed winger David Booth on waivers with the intention of buying him out, the team announced on Tuesday.
The move was made with the purpose of giving Booth his "unconditional release," said Canucks GM Jim Benning.
"We wish David all the success in the future and thank him for his contributions with the Canucks," Benning said.
Booth played three seasons in Vancouver since being traded to the Canucks from Florida early in the 2011-12 season. He struggled with injuries during his time in Vancouver, playing only 12 games during his second season. He put up just 19 points in 66 games last year under one-year head coach John Tortorella.
Booth is the Canucks' second buyout, their first being defenceman Keith Ballard, who was bought out by the club before the beginning of last season. Ballard signed with Minnesota and the Wild advanced to the Western Conference semifinal.
Each team is only allowed two buyouts.
While the move has been expected since the last NHL lockout that delayed the 2013 season, there are questions about why the Canucks would buy Booth out now.
The Michigan-born winger only has one year left on his contract, which pays him $4.75 million in salary (with a $4.25 million cap hit). He had cost the Canucks that same price tag over the past two seasons, each of them ending much earlier than expected while Booth had 22 points in 78 total games.
While Booth had trouble scoring in Vancouver, he did come on strong at the end of last year while playing with Zack Kassian and Brad Richardson, scoring six points in 10 games to close out the season. (It's believed Booth wasn't fully healthy until the back end of the 2014 season, after an ankle injury ended his 2013 season after just a dozen games.)
If Vancouver didn't buy out Booth, it was believed they could use their final compliance move on Alex Burrows, who had just five goals and 15 points in 49 games last season and carries a salary of $4.5 million for three more years.
Other questionable long-term contract on the Canucks include Jannik Hansen ($2.5 million for four more seasons) and defenceman Alex Edler, who will earn $5 million per season through 2019. Jason Garrison will make $4.6 million through 2018, as well.