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Booth, Panthers Have Bright Future

Monday, 07.7.2008 / 11:40 AM ET / Features
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Booth, Panthers Have Bright Future

David Booth attributes his success last season to his linemates in South Florida.
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The Florida Panthers failed in their strong late surge for a playoff spot, but emerging left wing David Booth played a major role in getting them so close.

In 2006-07, Booth's rookie season, he had just 10 points in 48 games. Older than most rookies in the League at 24, he averaged just 9:33 of ice time. This past season, he benefited from an increased role, averaging 16:10 of ice time per game.

"Playing more helped out a lot," Booth said. "It's easier to get your feet under you. The more you play, the more chances you get. Playing more minutes also helps me get into the flow of the game."

Booth earned a regular spot with the Panthers by the middle of the season and finished with 22 goals and 18 assists in 73 games. Booth attributes his success last season to his linemates in South Florida.

"I played with some great players in Nathan Horton and Stephen Weiss," Booth said. "Playing with players that good makes a huge difference and helps elevate my game."

Booth received the opportunity to play more minutes due to Richard Zednik's frightening neck laceration on Feb. 10, coupled with a separated shoulder that forced left wing Jozef Stumpel to miss 23 games. In the 18 games Zednik and Stumpel missed, Booth scored 10 points and played less than 18 minutes in just three games during that span. Booth also assumed a role on the Panthers' second power-play unit.

Toward the end of the season, Booth became a fan favorite, and whenever he would touch the puck, fans would yell, "Booooooth!"

Booth was third on the team in goals, but no Panther came up larger in the clutch as he led the team with six game-winning goals. His plus-13 rating on the 11th-place team in the Eastern Conference proved his defensive mettle. If Booth can continue his timely scoring and sound defensive play, the future in south Florida is sunny.

"We have to have the same mindset all year that every game matters," Booth said. "Toward the end, we felt the pressure and that's when we surged, but at the beginning of the year we didn't feel that pressure and we weren't playing as well."
 
If Booth continues his strong play next season, he'll become a popular player both among the Florida fan base as well as among rival managers when he becomes a restricted free agent in the summer of 2009.

The Panthers haven't made it to the postseason since 2000 and have won a playoff series in just one season -- in 1996, when they made a Cinderella run to the Stanley Cup Final.

The Panthers, however, can be cautiously optimistic about their future because the backbone of the club, goalie Tomas Vokoun, is signed until the summer of 2011. They have a young nucleus that includes Booth, Weiss, Horton, Rostislav Olesz and center Kamil Kreps. Weiss and Horton each are under contract for the next five seasons, and Olesz just signed a six-year deal.

There also are top-end prospects in the pipeline, including center Shawn Matthias, who had two goals in a four-game call-up in January; Keaton Ellerby, the No. 10 overall pick in the 2007 Entry Draft; and Michael Frolik, the No. 10 overall pick in the 2006 Draft.



Author: Adam Schwartz | NHL.com Staff Writer

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EASTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 WSH 53 40 9 4 175 120 84
2 FLA 54 32 16 6 150 122 70
3 NYR 54 31 18 5 153 135 67
4 NYI 53 29 18 6 150 131 64
5 DET 54 28 18 8 136 132 64
6 BOS 54 29 19 6 159 148 64
7 TBL 53 29 20 4 140 127 62
8 PIT 53 27 19 7 138 135 61
9 NJD 55 27 21 7 122 123 61
10 MTL 55 27 24 4 147 145 58
11 PHI 53 24 20 9 127 138 57
12 CAR 54 24 21 9 130 142 57
13 OTT 56 25 25 6 157 173 56
14 CBJ 56 22 28 6 140 173 50
15 BUF 55 21 28 6 125 151 48
16 TOR 53 19 25 9 122 149 47

STATS

2015-2016 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
J. Jagr 51 17 21 14 38
J. Jokinen 54 11 27 12 38
J. Huberdeau 54 10 28 12 38
V. Trocheck 54 17 18 3 35
A. Barkov 43 16 19 13 35
R. Smith 54 18 16 12 34
B. Pirri 50 11 13 -4 24
A. Ekblad 50 10 13 20 23
B. Campbell 54 5 17 20 22
N. Bjugstad 39 9 10 -1 19
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
R. Luongo 24 13 5 .928 2.17
A. Montoya 8 3 1 .929 2.01

 
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