Bobby Butler was signed by the Ottawa Senators in the spring of 2010. He was a hot shot sniper from New Hampshire of the NCAA and was added to a team that needed scoring depth up front. Alex Kovalev wasn't going to be around much longer, and it was unclear how much Daniel Alfredsson had in the tank. He played in one game before the end of the season and Sens fans were excited to see what the future held for Bobby.
He failed to make the team the following training camp, but went down to Binghamton to play for the baby Senators. He adjusted fairly well to the pro game putting up 22 goals and 33 points in the first 47 games of the season for Bingo. After the mass exodus that signalled the beginning of Senate Reform, Bobby was called up the the big team to play the remainder of the season. He did admirably and showed good chemistry with Jason Spezza, putting up 10 goals and 21 points in just 36 games. He finished off his very strong first pro season by winning the Calder Cup with Bingo, and adding 13 goals along the way.
Needless to say, fans were excited to see what he could do with a full season at the NHL level riding shotgun to Spezza. However, Butler had quite the sophomore slump. He had trouble staying in the line up and when he did get into the lineup, he often found himself in a 4th line role or was ineffectual on the top line. Whatever magic he had in 2010-2011 seemed to be gone. In the playoffs, he was sat in favour of new flavours Jakob Silfverberg and Mark Stone, two rising prospects who play the right side (like Butler) and who both had great seasons in their respective leagues.
So what now for Butler? He still has one year left on his 2 year 1-way contract extension from this past July, but is there really room for him with Silfverberg, Stone and Mika Zibanejad all pushing for NHL top-six spots? He certainly didn't forget how to play hockey, and he still possesses a release matched by only Kyle Turris. The question for Butler is can he find some consistency and some chemistry on one of the top two lines, and prove that he has the ability to play at the NHL level. If he can do that, it will allow Sens brass to bring other prospects along a bit slower, and will give Paul MacLean a weapon up front that he badly needs.
Links after the jump.
- As mentioned yesterday, Nikita Filatov has signed with a KHL team for the next two seasons, but Bruce Garrioch sees it as no big loss. In his opinion, it was a gamble that didn't pay off, no big deal. [Sun]
- Daniel Alfredsson, who's currently deciding his future, said that he can see coaching in his future, but definitely not right away. He seems to think it would still be too much time at the rink. [Sens Extra]
- Cool story on the Senators website about Mark Stone. He has rocketed up the prospect rankings for the Senators after being selected in the 6th round a few years ago. The interesting thing about this article is that it gives an insight into the draft being a bit of a crapshoot. The scout who pushed for Stone simply thought he had good size and may crack a 4th line role. Seems he exceeded that. [Sens]
- Playing the way they have the entire playoffs, the New York Ranger managed to take game one of the Conference Finals last night with a 3-0 shutout. [Bruce Arthur]
- Another Arthur piece this time about how defence is winning games in this years playoffs. One thing is sure, the 4 teams left know how to lock it down. [Arthur] In fact, the Rangers blocked 26 shots last night. That's insane. [NHL.com]
- Don Brennan gives Dan Girardi some serious man-love. [Sun]
- Sadly for my predecessor Adnan, Alexander Semin doesn't think he is done in Washington. [Puck Daddy]