Butler hopes to lead the Pioneers to the Frozen
Four, which will be played right across town at
the Pepsi Center this spring.
Key Statistics: After
a freshman season spent in the shadow of Hobey winner
Matt Carle, Butler led the Pioneers blueline corps offensively
in 2006-07, notching 10 goals and 27 points. On the
defensive side of things, Butler led the team with 110
What He Does: If the college experience
is all about personal growth, Butler has definitely
been doing something right since coming to Denver in
2005. Long regarded as the prototypical lanky defenseman,
Butler will step onto the ice this fall a full 30 pounds
heavier than he was as a freshman. He was determined
to add an extra physical element to the things that
he had already done well — blocking shots and
breaking up opponents’ 2-on-1 rushes.
The Bigger Picture: Despite all of
his college’s renowned professors and degree programs,
Butler admits that the chance to learn from elite defensemen
like Carle and Brett Skinner was one of the biggest
reasons he ended up with a locker in Magness Arena.
He fell short of one college goal last spring, as the
Pioneers’ late-season struggles meant he didn’t
get a chance to skate in the Frozen Four in his hometown.
Instead, Butler visited his parents over the Easter
holiday and watched from the stands at the Scottrade
Center as his old USHL teammate Tim Kennedy hoisted
the top trophy for Michigan State. With the next Frozen
set to be played a 16-minute train ride away from the
DU campus, Butler will lead a Pioneers defensive unit
that’s clearly focused on grabbing the school’s
third NCAA title of the decade in its own backyard.
RPI head coach and former DU assistant
Seth Appert on Butler: "He’s the
ultimate two-way defenseman. He can and does provide
offense, but he does it with minimal risk to his game.
When he contributes offensively he does it by making
great decisions. Chris is a rare defenseman that runs
the first power play, but can also match against the
other team’s top line."