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Adding firepower on the blueline

by Torie Peterson / Calgary Flames
ST. PAUL, MN -- Thanks to rampant rumours involving the trade of Robyn Regehr, defenceman Chris Butler wasn't surprised when he was dealt to the Calgary Flames on Saturday morning.

His agent had warned the 24 year-old his name was in the mix on Friday night so when Flames general manager Jay Feaster gave him a call the next day, the shock of being traded for the first time had already been tempered and replaced by elation.

"Once it all settled in and I spoke with Mr. Feaster this morning, I was so excited and he seemed very excited as well."

Butler was drafted by the Buffalo Sabres in the 2005 NHL Entry Draft in the fourth round, 96th overall, and has played 155 games for the club since the 2008-09 season. In that span, he's amassed five and 36 points. His highest totals came in the 2009-10 season when he was able to notch 20 helpers through 59 games.

That offensive sense is something Butler prides himself on and he thinks he'll be able to add a boost to the production from the Flames backend next year.

"My strongest attribute is my ability to help with the transition game," he told "My skating ability is also to my advantage ... when I see an opportunity, I try to jump up into the rush."

His defensive game has rounded out over the past year. While he did post 21 points in 2009-10, his +/- rating sat at -15. Last year, that rating skyrocketed up to +8.

"I've taken on a defence-first mindset," Butler said. "But it's nice to contribute on the offensive end as well."

Feaster is confident that barring injuries, Butler will be able to play a full schedule next year. Butler agrees and is looking forward to training camp later this summer.

"I'm preparing myself physically and mentally to play that 82-game schedule," he stated. "I know I'm going to get a great opportunity in Calgary so I'm going to do everything I can to be in the best possible shape when training camp rolls around so that I'm ready to contribute and help my teammates and the organization as much as I can right away."

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