It's time to put the finishing touches on the 2008-2009 season for the Buffalo Sabres. Here is a complete report card of every single player that played a significant amount of time with the Sabres this season. Thanks to Japers Rink and Mile High Hockey for the inspiration.
#34 / Defenseman / Buffalo Sabres
Oct 27, 1986
|2008 - Chris Butler||47||2||4||6||11||18||0||0||1||0||36||5.6|
Key Stat: The biggest stat of the year for Chris Butler is the one that is staring right in your face. He finished the season as plus 11 on a team that missed the playoffs. Plus/minus can be a misleading stat but in this case it is accurate. Behind the Net does a great job of really breaking down the stats and they accurately show the worth of Chris Butler. The Sabres allowed almost one full goal less per 60 minutes when Butler was on the ice as compared to when he wasn't on the ice.
Interesting Stat: Despite being regarded as a smart player he was a minus 22 in takeaways and giveaways. Butler gave the puck away 29 times this season but only took it from his opponent seven times.
Defensive Partner: (limited to top three to save space)
- Craig Rivet (1980)
- Teppo Numminen (555)
- Toni Lydman (247)
Fun Fact: He was the fourth player in three years to leave Denver University early to play professionally. Matt Carle, Ryan Dingle and Geoff Paukovich all left after their Junior season and Paul Statsny left after his Sophomore season.
Report: Nobody could have predicted the emergence of Chris Butler. Most of us had never seen him play but were told great things about him. Still we thought that he was at least a year away from cracking the Sabres lineup. After all the Sabres had seven regular defensemen and Mike Weber starting the season in Portland.
Butler began his NHL career on December 19 against the Los Angeles Kings and he never looked back. After getting an opportunity to play because of injury, he seized the opportunity and became a regular. Instead of sending him down to Portland, the Sabres elected to play him while both Teppo Numminen and Nathan Paetsch sat in the press box.
Butler proved to everyone that the future is bright. He has the potential to become a number one or two defenseman with the Sabres in the very near future.
2008-2009 Salary (Cap Number): $576,666 ($576,666)
2009-2010 Status: $576,666 ($576,666)
Vote: It's time to grade Butler for his play in the 2008-2009 season. Every player has expectations so vote based on those expectations. If a player played to their potential they should receive a "C" if they exceeded expectations they would receive a "B" or an "A".
Discuss: Were you surprised at how well Butler played as a rookie? Were you aware of the potential that Butler had before he was called up? Will Butler be able to match his play next season?
Up Next: Tim Connolly