Preds claim former Hobey Baker finalist Bobby Butler off waivers…

Bobby Butler (Sarah Fuqua)

Not exactly the “roster shake-up” we were talking about but it’s a start.

On Monday morning, the Nashville Predators claimed winger Bobby Butler off of waivers from the New Jersey Devils.

Undrafted, Butler inked a two-year deal with the Ottawa Senators shortly after his senior season at University of New Hampshire concluded. He was a Hobey Baker Award finalist as the best player in college hockey that year after scoring 53 points (including 29 goals) in 39 games as the captain of the Wildcats. Given his success at the college level, he was courted by several NHL clubs, eventually deciding to don a Senators sweater on March 29, 2010.

After a poor 2011-12 campaign (just 16 points in 56 games with Ottawa), Butler was bought out by the Sens and quickly signed a one-year deal with the New Jersey Devils. He posted 27 points for their AHL-affiliate, the Albany Devils, during the lockout but amassed just two points in 14 games at the NHL level once the lockout ended.

Butler, 25, is listed as a “natural goal scorer” and as “a skilled playmaker” by Elite Prospects. After struggles with both Ottawa and New Jersey, the question becomes “can he be those things at the NHL level?” Guess we’ll find out soon.

His next NHL point will be the 40th of his career.

The official press release is below.

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NASHVILLE, Tenn. (March 4, 2013) – Nashville Predators President of Hockey Operations/General Manager David Poile announced today that the club claimed forward Bobby Butler on waivers from the New Jersey Devils. Butler is on a two-way contract worth $525,000 at the NHL level and $105,000 at the AHL level.

Butler, 25 (4/26/87), posted a goal and an assist in 14 games with the Devils in 2012-13 after starting the season with their AHL affiliate in Albany, amassing 27 points (16g-11a) in 37 games. The Marlborough, Mass., native has appeared in 108 NHL contests with Ottawa and New Jersey since signing with the Senators on March 29, 2010, collecting 39 points (17g-22a). Butler was also an AHL All-Star and Calder Cup champion with the Binghamton Senators in 2010-11.

The 6-0, 180-pound right wing spent four seasons at the University of New Hampshire from 2006-10, putting up 121 points (61g-60a) in 153 games. He was a First-Team All American and Hobey Baker “Hat Trick” Finalist as a senior after finishing second in the NCAA with 53 points (29g-24a).

PHOTO CREDIT: Sarah Fuqua (used with permission)