VANCOUVER – Ryan Kesler will have a new left-winger on Vancouver’s second line after the Canucks acquired David Booth in a four-player swap with the Florida Panthers on Saturday.
The Canucks also acquired minor-leaguer Steve Reinprecht along with a third-round draft pick in 2013.
Going the other way are NHL veterans Mikael Samuelsson and Marco Sturm.
“It’s an opportunity to have a top-six forward and a left-winger to play with Ryan Kesler,” Vancouver general manager Mike Gillis said after the Canucks defeated the Minnesota Wild 3-2 in overtime.
“Booth is a fast player. He’s a north-south player and he’s going to get a chance to play with another guy who plays that way.”
Booth and Kesler played minor hockey together in the Detroit area.
“Ryan knows him very well. He’s scored over 30 goals in the league before and he’s 26 years old,” Gillis said.
“We think if we can get him here and get him moving in the right direction he’ll embrace it.”
Chris Higgins is currently playing with Kesler, the Selke trophy winner last season, along with rookie Cody Hodgson.
Mason Raymond, who suffered a broken back in the Stanley Cup final, was Kesler’s left-winger last season but no time has been set for his return.
“Chris Higgins is great on the boards, great at retrieving pucks so we’ll see how they work,” Gillis said. “Cody Hodgson’s also in that mix.”
Sturm, 33, a healthy scratch Tuesday against the New York Rangers, was acquired by Vancouver as a free agent in the off-season. He signed a US$2.25-million deal.
Samuelsson, who turns 35 in December, was in his third season with the Canucks and is making $2.5 million. Both players will become unrestricted free agents at the end of the season.
Samuelsson missed Vancouver’s last two games because of stiffness as he recovers from abdominal surgery.
Booth, who missed 54 games in 2009-10 after suffering two concussions, played a full 82-game schedule last season. He has a four-year deal paying $4.25 million a season.
Reinprecht, who has a cap hit of $2.05 million, is currently in the minors and will report to the Chicago Wolves, the Canucks’AHL affiliate, Gillis said.
Booth, a six-foot, 212-pound forward in his sixth NHL season, was selected 53rd overall in the 2004 entry draft. He has one assist in six games this season after scoring 23 goals and 17 assists last year. He has 87 goals and 80 assists in 309 career games with the Panthers.
Reinprecht, a 35-year-old Edmonton native, has played for four teams after going undrafted. He had four goals and six assists in 29 games with Florida last season.
Gillis, who said he met Booth by chance last summer in Northern California, said the trade had been discussed over the last six months.
“It just seemed like it was an appropriate time,” Gillis said.
“We wanted to free up a roster spot. We have too many players … and you have to act when it comes your way.”
Gillis said Sturm and Samuelsson “were the players that Florida wanted.”
“You have to work with the other side to try and come up with a match,” he added. “We were looking to try to get a little bit younger and a little bit quicker.”