Monday, April 14, 2008

DU's Latest Millionaire Alum Inks Contract

(above) The Buffalo Sabre signed DU's Chris Butler to a large contract over the weekend
Photo Credit: S. Victoria
From: Buffalo News
by John Vogl


Chris Butler flew from Denver to Buffalo on Saturday for a workout with the Sabres, woke up Sunday to sign his first professional contract, then flew back across two time zones to get back to school. You’d think he might want to spend today celebrating or getting some rest. Nope.

Butler knows that first-year defensemen can make an impact in Buffalo, and he’s determined to be the next one.

“I can’t wait to start working out tomorrow,” Butler said Sunday on his way to the Buffalo Niagara International Airport.

The Sabres brought in Butler for a physical over the weekend, and the 21-year-old from the University of Denver left town as the newest member of the organization. The Sabres signed him to a three-year deal worth $1.73 million. The first year is worth $560,000 and the last two years are worth $585,000 each.

Butler was in Buffalo last summer as part of the Sabres’ rookie development camp. There were informal chats about joining the team after his junior season, and those turned to formal negotiations as soon as his third season at Denver ended.

“When talks started about 10-12 days ago, I got really excited,” Butler said.

Butler is the type of all-around blue-liner the Sabres have been using the past few years. He was the Pioneers’ top-scoring defenseman with three goals, 14 assists and a plus-10 rating. The 6-foot-1, 195-pounder also led the team with 110 blocked shots.

Butler was named second-team All-America West after helping Denver win the playoff title in the Western Collegiate Hockey Association.

“I think Chris is a player, and we’ve seen it at the college level and in the conditioning camps, who’s well on the path of being a very good professional,” Sabres General Manager Darcy Regier said. “He’ll be a very good addition.”

The Sabres selected the native of St. Louis in the fourth round of the 2005 entry draft. He played two seasons with fellow Sabres prospect Tim Kennedy for Sioux City of the USHL before joining Denver.

The Sabres’ defensive depth has been severely tested the past few seasons, so Butler should have a chance to make his NHL debut in his first year.

“He’s excited about the opportunity,” Allain Roy, Butler’s agent, said by phone. “Buffalo’s not overly deep on the blue line, so it’s a good situation.”

First-year pro Mike Weber became a mainstay on the blue line during the Sabres’ failed playoff push, and with three unrestricted free agents on the roster (Dmitri Kalinin, Nolan Pratt and Teppo Numminen), there might be room for more young players.

Regier said he planned to continue talks with Kennedy today and wants to start negotiations with Boston College’s Nathan Gerbe, who led his team to the national title Saturday.

24 comments:

Anonymous said...

Congrats to Chris!!
Chris is a great kid on and off the ice and we
are very happy to see him
pursue his dream of playing
in the pros! Best of luck
to him!

Anonymous said...

Next up......Tyler Bozak: Possiblitlies: Anaheim, Calgary, Philadelphia, Carolina
Time Frame: 1-4 Weeks

Anonymous said...

2:46.....well said. All the best to Butler. Hope he has a great pro career. DU fans will miss him.

From junior in college to making over half a million bucks annually, playing the sport he loves. Not a bad gig. No surprise so much of college hockey's elite talent is leaving early.

Anonymous said...

Anon 3:00--is this rumor or substantiated?

dggoddard said...

The list of teams looks accurate and I've heard of at least one of the teams in regards to Bozak.

Bozak should be back, but obviously if someone is throwing the dollars around he gone. Its still 50-50 that he'll be back.

Twister said...

Re: Bozak

Based on what I've heard it's not a matter of if Bozak signs but when. I haven't heard of specific teams, but sources have told me he will likely be playing professionally next year.

If indeed true another tough loss for the Pios. He certainly had an outstanding freshman year.

dggoddard said...

I've heard he's staying so we'll just have to see who's got the correct skinny. :-)

Twister said...

DG,

I hope you're right!

dggoddard said...

After the Bozak situation gets resolved one way or another, then we have to worry about the NHL summer camps.

The DU guys that have been drafted will pay their own way to attend the camps. Some teams might like what they see or make room on their team for some rookies that impress. Ruegsegger, Rakhshani and several others will be at risk.

Anonymous said...

im suprised mannino and thomas havn't signed yet. Thomas just because Hershey's in the AHL playoffs.

Anonymous said...

What is there to discuss with Gerbe? You don't need to talk. Put the maximum in front of him on a piece of paper, and let him sign. Why talk.

Congrats to Bulter.

Anonymous said...

What happens if a team drafts a player and then changes its mind? Does that player become a free agent after some period of time?

Anonymous said...

I have a hard time believing Bozak would leave after only one year at DU. But maybe I'm just being naive. True, he had a nice season and is older for his class, but let's be honest--he's not ready for the pros. Playing in the BCHL along with one year of NCAA hockey does not prepare one well enough for the rigors and lifestyle of pro hockey. He needs more time to develop physically (I hear he's about 165 lbs) and work on his game.

These kids who think they are making the right decision by leaving college early for the glory of pro hockey are missing the boat. Carle and Stastny are not the norm. But too many people think they are. It's flawed thinking. For every Stastny there are 20 Dingles. I'm not going to knock someone for chasing their dreams and making big time money, I just think these kids are off with their timing. Why not stay in school and develop your game. I can't believe life in the ECHL is better than college. Just my 2 cents.......

Anonymous said...

Can't blame these guys for
chasing their dreams. Everyone would love to get
paid well for doing a job they love doing!

Anonymous said...

What's the average salary for an ECHL player? It can't be very high.

Anonymous said...

Anon @ 6:10:
Maybe Mannino and Thomas want to graduate before they sign. They have less than 8 weeks left, and imo, it would be stupid to go play in the AHL playoffs when you are so close to getting your college degree.

Anonymous said...

anonymous 9:47 AM:

ECHL players usually make around $200 dollars/week, if that.

Anonymous said...

Can't believe Dingle and Pauko are happy campers toiling in the ECHL....

Anonymous said...

pauko left because he was unhappy with his role on the team and the way gwozdecky was using him within the lineup: hence not moving from the 3rd line every season. Dingle left because the ducks claim he'll be in the show within the next 2 years. also, tj Fast left because he was having constant battles with gwozdecky and the coaching staff at practice and felt the whl would improve his shot at the nhl. Trotter was caught with an underage girl. That is the truth.

HoosierPioneer said...

Anon 2:57- what's your source on all of this?

Anonymous said...

Fast left because he was the team's biggest underachiever and wasn't interested in the NCAA model of studying and playing hockey. Nothing to do with Gwoz and practice. Get your facts straight. Fast played something like 60 games here in 2 seasons and had a grand total of 10points. Needless to say, he never found his groove.

Trotter's departure had nothing to do with a girl. Did you make that up or hear that from the pizza delivery guy??

Anonymous said...

April 15, 2008 2:57:00...
Trotter WAS NOT caught
with an under age girl! That is a flat out lie and you may want to revise your comment. Slander can get you into trouble very
fast!!!

Anonymous said...

Anon 2:57 ...
Does spreading lies make you feel better about yourself? If you are going to comment here, make sure it is the truth not something you made up!

pesimistic fan said...

who came up with these rumors? who cares? Lets hope these guys perform well and represent DU as well as Stastny and Carle in the NHL. People need to stop making up rumors and shut their mouths.