August 1, 2007

New Hampshire
So. | F | Marlborough, Mass.

Butler's overtime goal in the Hockey East semifinals highlighted a two-goal, one-assist weekend in Boston.


Key Statistics: Butler scored a goal in his first collegiate game and followed that with eight more, ending up about halfway down the UNH scoring chart with 9-3—12 in 38 games. Foremost among his three game-winning goals was his second-OT chip shot against Massachusetts in the Hockey East semifinals.

What He Does: Butler can do a bit of everything, with a 6-foot-0, 180-pound frame that willingly goes into the corners, hockey sense that gets him in the right places and hands that can finish. He boasts a quick release on what's usually a hard shot — with the exception of that goal in Boston.

The Bigger Picture: Butler produced remarkable offensive numbers playing for his father, John, at Marlborough High School while also skating for the Boston Jr. Bruins, but it was hard to predict his impact joining the Wildcats right out of high school. UNH freshmen — at least pre-James van Riemsdyk — traditionally wait their turn before becoming stars, and Butler began the year on the fourth line. Injuries opened up ice time and he took advtantage, scoring four goals in the season's last nine games. He should enter this year among the team's top six forwards and will be expected to provide offense from the drop of the puck.

UNH forward Mike Radja on Butler: “At first I thought he reminded me of a Brett Hemingway type player, but he's a little more aggressive, digging and banging in the corners, than Brett. He’s a different player, I’m not sure I’ve ever played with anyone like him. He’s got something special about his game.”

— Nate Ewell