Bruins Got Lucky With 2009 Third-Round Selection of Ryan Button

by

September 6, 2010

Continuing NESN.com's unveiling of our Preseason Top 10 Prospects in the Bruins system, we take a look at No. 6, defenseman Ryan Button.

Position: Defense
Age:
19
Height: 6-foot-1
Weight: 193 pounds
Shoots: Left
Acquired: 2009 draft, third round (86th overall)
2009-10 stats: Prince Albert (WHL) ? 67 games, 6-27-33, plus-9, 46 PIMs

Analysis: One of the vaunted puck-movers every team in the NHL covets these days, Button is steadily rising up the ranks as one of Boston's prized prospects. Bruins general manager Peter Chiarelli even admitted at the 2009 development camp that "I think we may have gotten a little lucky with him" after selecting Button late in the third round.

An exceptional skater, Button has displayed good poise and sound decision-making. He's not huge by NHL standards, but has decent size, especially compared to many of the undersized blue-line prospects currently in Boston's system. He's also capable of playing a physical game, earning a reputation as a respected fighter in the rugged Western Hockey League despite not dropping the gloves often due to his need to stay on the ice and log big minutes for Prince Albert.

Notable: In three years in the WHL, Button has not played in a single playoff game, as the Raiders have failed to qualify for the postseason each year. ? Scored the first two power-play goals of his career last season as his role on special teams has expanded. ? Noted as a capable fighter, but has only had five fights in his WHL career. Interestingly, while he's had a tight rein on him to limit his fighting because of his importance to Prince Albert, in three of those fights, including both of last season's bouts, he picked up the instigator penalty and had to serve an extra minor and misconduct. That's more a testament to his character than a criticism, however, as he received the extra penalties for coming to teammates' aid following questionable hits. ? Of those five fights, two have come against Matt Delahey, who will be attending the Bruins camp as an invite later this month. ? With his skating ability, he excelled in the drills at July's development camp, but he also showed off sound positional play in the scrimmages and even flashed some nifty moves. Those included a spin-o-rama to score in the shootout following the final day's scrimmage. ? Was cut before seeing any action in the preseason last year, but set a goal of getting into at least one exhibition game this fall, preferable the opener at Montreal on Sept. 22. "The first one's in Montreal and I have a cousin there who's a huge Bruins fan, so that would be pretty special," said Button at this year's development camp. "I'm sure it'll be a packed house so that would be a cool experience. The Bruins have been our family team for a while and the Montreal-Boston games can get pretty feisty, so after all these years of watching it would be pretty cool to be a part of it."

Quotable: "Physically, he surprised me a little bit walking through the door," said Bruins assistant general manager Don Sweeney at July's development camp. "I think he had a little growth spurt during the year. I had seen him out in a very cold part of the world earlier in the year and he wasn't as physically developed as he is right now. He's done a lot of good work. He's worked with a bunch of pro guys during the offseason, and the fruits of those labors are starting to bear forward. I'm happy with where he's at right now. He's got a long way to go and he understands that, but he's a good skater."

"I know coming in here the second time around I felt a lot more comfortable and hopefully I'll be able to take that into main camp," said Button in July. "It's not a realistic chance I'm going to make Boston this year, but you know what, I feel more and more comfortable and it just gives you that little extra bit of confidence knowing that I might have a shot to make the team. So I'm going to come in and work as hard as I can and you never know."

2010-11 outlook: Button knows the odds are against him making the leap from junior this year, but his long-term prospects of becoming an NHL regular are very bright. He brings exactly the kind of skills that are in high demand for defensemen in today's NHL, and the kind of attributes Boston lacks on its blue line. He should get a longer look at this year's camp and maybe a little experience against NHL competition in an exhibition game or two, but isn't likely to immediately challenge any of the returning veterans for a spot with the big club. Instead, he should return to Prince Albert and continue to develop his game in the WHL, taking on even more responsibility as a leader there and possibly helping the Raiders finally end their postseason drought.

NESN.com will count down our Preseason Top 10 Bruins Prospects with one profiled each day.

Sunday, Sept. 5: The No. 7 prospect, center Ryan Spooner

Tuesday, Sept. 6: The No. 5 Bruins prospect is unveiled.

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