It's time to put the finishing touches on the 2010-2011 season for the Buffalo Sabres. Here is a complete report card of every single player that played any amount of time with the Sabres this season. The journey began with Luke Adam and conclude in a month with Mike Weber. Thanks to Japers Rink and Mile High Hockey for the inspiration.
#34 / Defenseman / Buffalo Sabres
Oct 27, 1986
Contract: Cap hit of $850,000, will become RFA
2010 Grade: 3.5/10
|2010 - Chris Butler||49||2||7||9||8||26||0||0||0||0||52||3.8|
Introduction: After having a very up-and-down year in 2009-2010 which most of our readers were displeased with, Chris Butler had another up-and-down season in 2010-2011, but this time ended on a more positive note. After riding the pine for a long stretch of the season (33 games, to be exact) Butler emerged somewhat incredibly to become the top-line partner of Tyler Myers and logged big minutes in the run to the playoffs. Butler seemed to benefit from the "Tyler Myers Bump," which makes any defenseman playing with Tyler Myers seem much better than he actually is. (See: Tallinder, Henrik)
Key Stat: Honestly, I struggled to find a key stat to help put Butler's season in perspective. He's right in the middle of the pack in just about every defensive category. How about this: Butler didn't score his first goal until April 3rd, the fourth-last game of the season.
Did You Know? Chris Butler's career high in goals is 2, which he tied this year. NHL headline writers weep for the lost puns they could use if he scored more often.
Thumbs Up: Butler greatly improved on his -15 rating from last season with a +8 this year. He seemed to settle in nicely with Tyler Myers, and the two played fairly well together once Butler returned to the lineup on Feb. 8. He was the third best blueliner on the team in goals against/60, and Butler also missed the fewest shots out of any regular D-man, though he also took the fewest. His relative Corsi numbers were also good, second on the team only to Myers.
Thumbs Down: Though he played on average against the easiest competition, Butler managed to accumulate almost no offensive statistics whatsoever. If you take out the first four and last five games of the regular season, Butler had 3 points in 40 games this year. Youch. Ruff didn't trust him very much on special teams, thus Butler was in the bottom 3 out of 9 defensemen in both PP TOI and SH TOI per game. He's not a particularly prodigious shot blocker or hitter, though those numbers are a bit low because he spent time in the owner's box. Only dressed for one game from December 19 through February 7.
Voting: On a scale of one to ten, one being the lowest and ten being the highest, grade Chris Butler on his season according to the expectations you had for him. If he met them, give him a five or a six. If he eclipsed them, aim for a seven or beyond. If he failed to meet them, give him a lower number relating to how poorly he missed the target.
Topics Of Discussion: Do you think Butler should be resigned? Was his success solely from playing with Tyler Myers or can he develop into a solid defenseman on his own? Can he return to his 20 assists of 2009-10 or was that season a fluke?