July 26, 2012

Senators may buy out Bay State native Butler

By Jesse Connolly

Last July, Bobby Butler (Marlborough, Mass.) was elated after signing a two-year deal with the Senators. One year later, he might be on the verge of being bought out.

Butler has been placed on waivers by Ottawa and, if he goes unclaimed, it's highly unlikely the Sens will be hanging onto him. Butler's contract is of the one-way variety, meaning that he'll be paid $1.2 million next season in the AHL or the NHL if he stays in the fold.

After four seasons at UNH, Butler tore it up for the Senators' farm team in Binghamton in 2010-11 and caught fire down the stretch for the big club. He had 10 goals and 11 assists in just 36 NHL contests and seemed poised to repeat that success in 2011-12.

Unfortunately, under new head coach Paul MacLean, things didn't go according to plan.

Butler got off to a rough start to the year and repeatedly found himself as the team's healthy scratch up front. He finished the year with just six goals and 10 assists in 56 contests, and was held without a point in three playoff games.

If Ottawa buys out the 25-year-old forward, they'll only be responsible for one-third of his contract, due to his age. The cap hit would clock in at $200,000 over the next two seasons.

Jesse Connolly can be reached at jconnolly@hockeyjournal.com. Follow him on Twitter at @JesseNEHJ.