Winger Bobby Butler had a pretty interesting 2013 season, as he played for two different teams with varying degrees of success. Now that the regular season is over, Butler has joined Team USA at the 2012 IIHF World Championship, where he has already proven he can have an impact on the international stage. Set to be a restricted free agent this summer, Butler could be a valuable addition for the Predators if they choose to keep him around while they work on rebuilding and working their way back towards the playoffs.
Butler’s time with the New Jersey Devils at the start of the season was less than productive, as he netted only one goal in 14 games. He was waived and then claimed by the Nashville Predators, and while his numbers there weren’t amazing they did show improvement. In 20 games with Nashville, Butler had three goals and nine points. Two goals and four points came in the final five games of the season, and Butler now seems to be carrying that late success into his time with Team USA. He has a goal and an assist through the first three games of the tournament as part of a roster of mostly young talent for the U.S.
Most of Butler’s time in the league had been spent with the Ottawa Senators, where he scored 16 goals over the 2010-11 and 2011-12 seasons. He started this season with the Albany Devils of the AHL due to the lockout, and the 16 goals and 27 points he put up in 37 games made it seem like he would have an impact in New Jersey when the work stoppage ended. That was not the case, but the promise he showed at the end of the season should be enough for the Predators to still take a chance on keeping the skilled forward around for a full season.