Senators Re-Sign Bobby Butler

The Ottawa Senators have announced the re-signing of Bobby Butler (senators.nhl.com/club/news.htm?id=569316) to a two-year, one-way deal.  Butler was signed as a free agent out of college (New Hampshire) at the end of the 2009-10 season.  Last year he splite his time between Binghamton (47-22-11-33) and Ottawa (36-10-11-21).  Butler’s deal has a cap hit of 1.075 per season (as per www.capgeek.com/players/display.php?id=1660).

Kaspars Daugavins remains the only RFA whose future is still unknown.

Senators Player Profile: Erik Karlsson

This is the eighth in a series of profiles on each player for the Ottawa Senators.

Erik Karlsson, D, Contract: 1.3/12 (RFA)
Drafted 1-15/08 (Murray), 5’11, Shoots R, YOB 1990, Lannaskede, Swe
2008-09 SEL 45-5-5-10 10pim
2009-10  60-5-21-26 -5 24pim TOI 20:06 PPP 1-9-10 TkA 31, AHL 12-0-11-11
2010-11 75-13-32-45 -30 50pim TOI 23:30 PPP 4-17-21 TkA 56

The 2008 NHL Entry Draft was the first real draft for Bryan Murray.  He was the GM for the previous draft, but all the scouting work was done under John Muckler who was fired shortly beforehand.  The Senators had the 18th overall pick, but Anders Forsberg and Tim Murray were high on Erik Karlsson, so the Sens made a trade with Nashville to grab him with the 15th overall pick (www.canada.com/Everything+turning+Swede/ 1724631/story.html; Nashville wound up with Chet Pickard and Taylor Beck, incidentally).

There was no doubt that Karlsson needed another year of seasoning before coming to the NHL, so he spent one more year with Frolunda before signing his first NHL contract.  Karlsson’s expectations for himself were much more moderate than many fans (http://video.senators.nhl.com/videocenter/console?id=44771), but he made the team out of training camp (http://www.ottawasun.com/sports/hockey/2009/09/22/ 11061326.html), which lead to Jared Cowen being returned to the WHL and Christoph Schubert put on re-entry waivers (claimed by Atlanta).  Karlsson was demoted to Binghamton in late October and stayed there for a month, putting up nearly a point-per-game numbers.  Recalled at the end of November, he spent the rest of the season in the NHL.  Other than hurting his shoulder trying to throw an open-ice hit on Ryan Kesler in February, Karlsson enjoyed a strong rookie season including a great playoff against Pittsburgh (6-1-5-6).

Heading into last season, expectations for Karlsson were high.  There was no question that he was going to play regularly and play a lot.  For awhile he actually lead the team in scoring (http://www.ottawasun.com/sports/hockey/2010/12/26/16678841.html), although questions remained about his defensive play (www.senatorsextra.com/main/ ottawa-senators-at-washington-capitals-on-oct-10-2010/).  At season’s end he was first on the team in powerplay points (one ahead of Sergei Gonchar, who played fewer games), second in points, and just lost out to Chris Phillips for the team lead in the minus category (he also played in the NHL all-star game).

Karlsson’s development as a prospect has been meteoric.  While he’s never going to be fantastic defensively, I think he’s better than he’s given credit for.  He should benefit both from new coach Paul MacLean’s puck-possession system and a more balanced offensive attack on the back end (with the inclusion of David Rundblad and what I anticipate as a bounce-back year for Gonchar).  If Karlsson can stay healthy he should put up 50 points and 10 goals.

His Hockey Futures page: http://www.hockeysfuture.com/prospects/erik_karlsson
A bunch of his goals: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KKZhl5p64Bo

Next up is Erik Condra.