Bobby Butler Has a Chance at a Fresh Start with the Devils
Earlier this week, the New Jersey Devils signed right wing Bobby Butler to a two-way deal. Butler is coming to New Jersey from the Ottawa Senators organization, where his once-promising time in Ottawa went south this past season.
Butler was with the Senators the last two years, spending much of the 2010-11 campaign with the Binghamton Senators of the AHL. There, he had 33 points in 47 regular season games and helped Binghamton win the Calder Cup while posting 17 points in 23 playoff games. He was also the MVP of the 2011 AHL All-Star Game.
Signing with the New Jersey Devils will give Bobby Butler another chance at becoming an NHL standout. (Chris Williams/Icon SMI)
He received a call-up to Ottawa that season, posting 21 points in 36 games. Although he had a minus-16, he received 15:25 of ice time and was sixth with 2:12 of ice time on the power play.
Butler showed promise this year, but did not live up to it, often being scratched. He also lost some ice time to new acquisition Kyle Turris, who had 16:51 of ice time per game and was seventh with 1:48 on the power play.
Butler, meanwhile, had 11:28 of average ice time and barely played on the power play. He finished the year with 16 points and a plus-eight in 56 games. However, he was tied for second on the team with four game-winning goals.
His contract was brought out this past summer after the Sens signed forward Kaspars Daugavins to a one-year deal.
Now that Butler has a chance to establish himself in a new organization, he could very well break out with the Devils. For one, he can take some of the power-play minutes left by Zach Parise, who signed with the Minnesota Wild last month. Parise was third on the team with 3:26 of power-play ice time. Also, Petr Sykora, who was sixth with 1:58 played on the man advantage, might not return to the team, which gives Butler an additional chance at playing time.
The 25-year-old forward can also use this year to set himself apart from Devils forwards in contract years. Four forwards will be unrestricted free agents after this season, while three will be restricted free agents.
His competition for playing time, and possibly a long-term contract, spans across the Devils roster, starting with career-long Devil and 36-year-old Patrik Elias, and going down to Calder Trophy finalist Adam Henrique. Elias was 10th in the NHL this year with 78 points, and Henrique earned a Calder Trophy nomination by registering 51 points and ranking fourth in the league with four shorthanded goals.