View Full Version : College free agents: Worth it?

08-07-2012, 05:19
Some good news came about recently for Bobby Butler: Teams are interested in his services. Of course, this good news followed the bad news that the Ottawa Senators were no longer interested in his services. That's quite a feat considering how hard the Senators fought to get him on the team and his strong pedigree: He was a Hobey Baker finalist (he lost out to Blake Geoffrion), and in his first pro season put up 54 points (32G, 22A) spread across 83 games in the AHL and NHL, was an AHL All-Star and won MVP of the AHL's All-Star game, and finished the year on Ottawa's top line, displaying chemistry with Jason Spezza.

He spent more than a third of last year scratched, and only managed six goals and ten assists in 56 games with the Senators. And now he's gone.

It seems like every year we get excited when general manager Bryan Murray is able to sign a top college player. It's an area of managing we love to give Murray credit for, because we remember he signed Chris Kunitz and Dustin Penner in back-to-back years in Anaheim, and both of those players were factors in the Ducks' 2007 Stanley Cup victory over the Senators. Kunitz has gone on to win a second Cup with Pittsburgh, while Penner just collected his second as a member of the Los Angeles Kings.

However, looking at the track record of Ottawa's college free agent signings, one wonders if we're not giving Murray too much credit for his past successes: This offseason has seen the organization actively choose not to retain three of the four college free agents they had on their roster.

That's an alarmingly dismal success rate.