Bobby Butler had a lousy season. There, I said it, it is out of the way. While he drew into the lineup in 20 more games than last season (due solely to his new 1-way contract), he managed to put up 4 less goals and 5 less points than he managed in his 36 games last season.
So what happened? This isn't a player who forgot how to play overnight. Butler has done nothing but score at every level of hockey he's ever played. In his first full pro season last year, he played 106 games, including playoffs and scored 45 goals, 10 of them coming at the NHL level and 13 coming in the Calder Cup run by the Bingo Sens. He showed excellent chemistry with Jason Spezza. iIf you look in the archives of this website you will find many articles (some written by me) trying to decide whether he'd score 25 or 30 goals in 2011-2012. He had played to such a high level, showing such a good scorer's instinct, that it was laughable to think he'd score less that 20 or 15.
And yet, he scored 6, and 2 came in one game.
Maybe it is a case of a new system. Maybe its a case of a player playing 106 games the year before and being too run down in the summer to properly train. Perhaps his new 1-way contract made him feel like he no longer had to work as hard to keep a roster spot now that he was guaranteed NHL money. Whatever the reason, the Butler we saw this year was not the same one that we saw last year.
So what does the future hold for Bobby? Does he regain his form? Does he become an NHL/AHL tweener? Does he get a chance from another organization? Does he get passed on the depth chart by our incoming prospects?
There are holes in the top 6 for the Senators. This is well documented. If Alfie decides not to come back, there will be even more need for a player that can score. Bobby has scored in the past. Can he do it again?
- Latest in line of Senators getting married, Erik Condra will be marrying fiancée Ryan Reynolds this summer and heading to Greece for his honeymoon. I wish him and the Green Lantern all the best. [Sens]
- Nichols takes a look at the Garrioch article I linked the other day about the 5 players who could be traded, along with a few other thoughts. [6thSens]
- Cool story about Slater Koekkoek (which is the coolest name I've seen in a prospect in quite a while) and how he leaned on close friend and Senators prospect Matt Puempel when he had his draft season cut short due to injury. [SensExtra]
- Former Senators goalie and fan favourite Ron Tuggnett has decided to leave his isolated home north of Peterborough to purchase the Kemptville 73's and get back involved with hockey in the Ottawa area. [Citizen]
- After the big news of Nick Lidstrom calling it quits yesterday, Bruce Garrioch informs Daniel Alfredsson that it's his turn. I think I'm fine with Alfie taking his time, in order to make the right choice. [Sun]
- Another cool little nugget from Garrioch about Lidstrom, who thanked Bryan Murray for helping him start his NHL career when BM was the GM in Detroit. [Sun]
- Obviously biggest league news is the retiring of the best European player of all time, and one of the best defensemen of all time, Nicklas Lidstrom. 7 Norris trophies, 4 cups, and made the playoffs in each of the 20 years he played. Incredibly impressive, the game will not be the same without him. [Post]
- Weird story as Tim Thomas considers taking a year off from the NHL. He sure had a roller-coaster year with his image taking a hit. [PuckDaddy]
- Bob Hartley is back in the NHL with the Calgary Flames. [Globe]
- This article suggests this year's draft class is similar to one we have seen before. [Post]