Sens place Butler on waivers
BRUCE GARRIOCH, QMI Agency
|Ottawa Senators Bobby Butler skates onto the ice at Scotiabank Place in this 2011 file photo. (ERROL MCGIHON/QMI Agency)
The Senators will waive goodbye to Bobby Butler as early as Friday.
As first reported by the Sun on Monday, the Senators have decided to exercise their right to buy out a contract and will send the underachieving winger packing once he clears NHL waivers at noon Friday.
Scheduled to make $1.2 million this season, the Senators can get rid of Butler, 25, for only one-third of his contract because he’s under 26 and the organization is allowed to buy out one contract after a player settles an arbitration case.
The Senators had three days to decide to take action on a player after Kaspars Daugavins agreed to a one-year, $635,000 contract Monday, avoiding arbitration. That left the club with 13 forwards on one-way deals.
Ottawa GM Bryan Murray has been trying to deal Butler since February’s deadline. They passed on a chance to buy him out in June after the Stanley Cup final, but the organization came to the realization he had no trade value.
Neil Sheehy, Butler’s agent, confirmed the Senators planned to buy out his client Thursday afternoon. He said he spoke with Murray after Butler went on waivers.
“Yes, there’s disappointment. It was a two-year contract. It wasn’t a long-term contract,” said Sheehy. “It’s within their rights. Everybody has to play by the same rules and you move on.
“It’s up to Bobby to show that he can play and show that (the Senators) made a bad decision.”
The total amount of the buyout will be $400,000 in real cash. According to Team 1200’s Steve Lloyd, the Senators will have a $75,000 cap hit during the 2012-13 season and a $200,000 hit in 2013-14 as a result of the buyout.
Butler, signed as a free agent out of college in March, 2010, didn’t produce last season after a promising stint in 2010-11 saw him score 10 goals and 11 assists in 36 games.
Last season, Butler was given the opportunity to play on the same line as No. 1 centre Jason Spezza, but still didn’t produce.
Butler, who only managed six goals and 10 assists in 56 games last season, was often a healthy scratch, had limited ice time when he did play and wasn’t signed by Ottawa to be a fourth-liner.
The Senators just didn’t have room to keep Butler around in hopes he would win a spot in training camp, nor could they afford to bury a $1.2-million contract in the minors.
The club believes one of Mark Stone, Jacob Silfverberg or Mika Zibanejad is going to push for a top-six spot in training camp in September, while winger Guillaume Latendresse signed a one-year, $1.275-million deal on July 1.
The Senators also want to be able to keep a couple of roster spots open in case they do decide to swing a deal for a high-end forward like Bobby Ryan.
After signing Stephane Da Costa earlier this week, Ottawa had 49 players under contract.
The limit is 50 and once Butler is officially gone, the club will have 48 under contract.
Nobody is going to claim Butler at his current price, but a team might be willing to give him a two-way contract or free-agent tryout.
“I’m quite certain he won’t get another one-way contract,” a league executive said Thursday.
The issue with Butler is simple: If he’s not scoring, he’s not producing and he didn’t produce enough last season to deserve the opportunity to be brought back.
In the end, Butler just didn’t do it.