On Sunday, Mike Chambers of the Denver Post speculated on the future of Pioneers junior rearguard, Chris Butler:
Two big question marks, and a smaller third one, exist with the Pios. One, will junior defenseman Chris Butler be back? DU’s best two-way player had a nice summer camp with the Buffalo Sabres last year and will probably have a tough decision to make. If he stays, he’ll be the WCHA’s top D-man and possible team captain. I talked to him briefly about it after Saturday’s 6-2 loss to the Badgers, and he didn’t say much — other than the loss could inspire him to come back and give it another shot. But once he’s offered a contract and the Sabres present a plan for him next season, certainly the sting of the season-ending loss will be history. My take: 70-30 he signs.Chambers says 70/30 he signs. I'll say 89/11. Other than winning a college championship, which is a dangerous motivator for a player reknowned as a "team guy", there isn't a whole lot left for Butler to prove in the WCHA. Of course, completing his education has to be a primary goal, but that can always be done over the offseason. Developmentally, the St. Louis native is good to go as a professional hockey player. Andrej Sekera is certain to be on Buffalo's blueline next season, and it looks like Mike Weber is on the verge of joining him. With a twice-concussed Mike Card engaged in rehabilitation, and still-defenseman Marc-Andre Gragnani showing chops best served as a left wing, Mike Funk and Mike Kostka could be the only defensive prospects under contract for the Sabres AHL affiliate in 2008-09. (The recently signed Kostka will attend training camp after leaving his Amerks ATO to finish his UMass coursework.) Enter Butler, 21, and perhaps even 2006 first-rounder Dennis Persson. Butler would obviously be an early signing, while the Sabres are inside of 60 days away from a decision on Persson. 2007 picks T.J. Brennan and Drew Schiestel both would benefit from another junior season, and as 19-year olds, would have to make the Sabres roster outright (unlikely) since they won't meet AHL age requirements. Harvard sophomore Alex Biega and St. Lawrence junior Matt Generous are expected to return to college, while '07 Drew MacKenzie hasn't even glanced at his first campus co-ed. SabresProspects is still keeping tabs on unsigned Miami D Mitch Ganzak, who recently completed his senior season with the Redhawks after attending Buffalo's prospect camp over the summer - the same camp that put Kostka on the radar.