Senators Player Profile: Bobby Butler

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

Bobby Butler, RW, Contract: 1.075/13 (RFA)
FA 2010 (Murray), 6’0, Shoots R, YOB 1987, Marlborough, MA
2009-10 NCAA 39-29-24-53 20pim
2010-11 AHL 47-22-11-33 +5 35pim (1 fight), NHL 36-10-11-21 -16 10pim TOI 15:25

Bryan Murray has a long history of signing free agents out of the NCAA, and at the end of the 2009-10 season he managed to land the hotly pursued New Hampshire star  (m.si.com/news/archive/archive/detail/2429977 prior too and then www.tsn.ca/ nhl/story/?id=315921; Muir’s comments include an amusing one about Stephane Da Costa, incidentally).  Butler, just like Jesse Winchester in 2008, played at the tail end of the season, but was ineligible to appear in the playoff series against Pittsburgh.

Coming into last season, Butler (along with Roman Wick) was thought to have a good chance at beating out Ryan Shannon for a roster spot (http://www.ottawasun.com/ sports/hockey/2010/09/13/15339741.html), but was unable to do so.  Unlike all the other rookies in Binghamton, Butler got off to a good start.  When he returned from a brief call-up in December he went through a mini-slump that lasted into mid-January.  Like fellow rookies Colin Greening and Erik Condra, he benefitted when Bryan Murray went into rebuild mode and was given a ton of ice time when he was called up.  Butler’s ten career goals are already more than Winchester has scored in three NHL seasons.  With Ottawa’s season over, Butler was returned to Binghamton where he finished seventh in playoff scoring (23-13-4-17), first among rookies.  There was little doubt the team would re-sign him and that he’d have to play his way out of a top-six (http://www.canada.com/Bobby+Butler+signs+with+Senators/5102403/story.html).

Butler has good speed and a great shot.  He’s also proven to be durable, playing 106 professional games this past season.  The issues going forward are consistency and defensive play.  I think reasonable expectations for him are 50 points with 20 goals (assuming, of course, that he stays in the top-six for the entire season).

His scanty Hockey Futures profile: www.hockeysfuture.com/prospects/bobby_butler
His interview on The Team after signing his contract (July 15): www.team1200.com/default.asp

Next up is Matt Carkner.

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