If Chris Butler's actions match his words, Sabres fans are going to warm to him in a hurry. The 21-year-old defenseman had just signed his first professional contract this afternoon when he uttered: "I can't wait to start working out tomorrow."
Rather than revel in achieving his dream of getting an NHL contract, he's immediately going to work toward making that NHL contract pay off. Butler, who just finished his junior season at the University of Denver, is leaving school to join the Sabres. He signed a three-year deal.
The 6-foot-1, 195-pounder is an all-around talent who might have a chance to start in the NHL as soon as next season. Mike Weber showed that first-year pros can make the team, and the 21-year-old Butler is a year older. With possible departures by unrestricted free agents Dmitri Kalinin, Nolan Pratt and Teppo Numminen, the opportunity is there.
"A lot of that is up to me," Butler said.