Chris Butler '05 signed a two-way contract, meaning he will be paid an NHL salary of $650,000 when he's on the Blues' roster and a minor-league salary of $400,000 if he's assigned to the club's American Hockey League affiliate in Chicago.
As reported by stltoday.com, Chaminade Prep must feel a sense of pride again today, as another one of its own has returned to St. Louis this summer to play for the Blues.
Two weeks after Stastny agreed to a four-year contract with his home team, Butler, a defensman, came to terms on a one-year deal that may soon put him in a Blue Note.
"It's pretty exciting," Butler said, "getting the opportunity to put on the jersey that I've watched ever since I was a little kid, the jersey that I was watching when I fell in love with hockey."
Butler, who was drafted by Buffalo in the fourth round round in the 2005 NHL Draft, has played six seasons in the NHL. He was traded to Calgary from Buffalo in 2011 and has spent the past three seasons with the Flames.
Butler became an unrestricted free agent on July 1.
"St. Louis reached out the first or second day of free agency, talked to my agent, but things didn't sound too serious at that point," Butler said. "Then about a week ago, I was in Europe and my agent said (Ken Hitchcock) wanted to talk to me. I had a 15-minute with Hitch and just talked about a few different things. Then just this past Monday, I had a sit-down with Doug Armstrong and we went over a handful of items, where he kind of saw me fitting in. In the last 24 hours, we kind of talked numbers and came to an agreement."
The Blues have seven defensemen on one-way contracts next season, but the organization is lacking NHL-ready depth at the position.
Butler, who played all 82 games last season with Calgary, certainly adds experienced depth. But despite a contract situation that has him on the outside looking in, he isn't punching his ticket for the minors yet.
"My personal goal is to come to training camp and compete for a spot," Butler said. "I have no intention of playing in the American League, even though it's a two-way deal. I feel like I'm still an NHL player ... it's just kind of a camp to take a step back and redefine myself as a player, come to a winning organization and a team and a franchise that I think is pretty close to achieving their ultimate goal."
Butler said signing a two-way contract was made easier because it was the Blues.
"It is tough, just the uncertainty of things," he said. "But if there was a place that I'd be willing to do it, it was obviously St. Louis. This may not be the way I had free agency panning out. You look around the league and see some of the deals being thrown around, it would be nice to have one of those. But at the end of the day, I couldn't be more excited to be a member of the organization."