Ryan Button, D
March 26, 1991
Boston's 2nd choice, 86th overall (third round) in 2009
Signing status: Unsigned
Physical: Does not possess ideal height for a defenseman (closer to 6-foot than his listed 6-1), but is long-limbed and in very good physical condition. Needs to continue to add muscle mass and strength, his biggest hurdle to making it as an NHL regular. Superb skater with high-end four-way mobility; can accelerate rapidly and use his speed to lead the rush. Very good on his edges, with the ability to make tight turns and change direction in an instant. Excellent athleticism; has fluid movement in his hips when pivoting and can handle the most elusive of skaters who attempt to jitterbug, or the fastest of them who will try to use their speed to gain position on the outside. Comes from excellent athletic stock: father is an accomplished triathlete, while cousin, Jennifer was an Olympic swimmer. Makes a good first pass and keeps his head up, looking to make the quick outlet. Can carry the puck at speed and lead the rush if he is inclined to do so. Shoots the puck well from the outside, but is more lethal with his wrist and snap shots when he steps in from the blue line and works inside the circles. Has not been all that productive because his WHL teams, the Prince Albert Raiders and Seattle Thunderbirds, struggled to generate a lot of offense in his time there. Solid defensively; takes the body and finishes his checks. Understands positioning and just needs to continue to gain experience and resist the urge to try and do too much.
Intangibles: A solid citizen and hard worker who is a good teammate. Works out in the offseason with several Edmonton-based pro players, including Boston fan favorite Johnny Boychuk. Humble to a fault; can be very tough on himself when he doesn't play to his and others' expectations. A leader; has the ability to inspire his teammates through his play or in the dressing room, where he is articulate and confident enough to speak up when something needs to be said. Outworked and outperformed higher bantam selections to earn a spot on the Raiders as a WHL rookie four years ago, so he understands that draft position doesn't mean much-- that it is what you do with the opportunities presented that matter most.
2011 Development Camp analysis
Another solid performance at development camp from one of the more veteran youngsters there- his third appearance in Wilmington. He showed off his fine mobility and the prior experience served him well. Button shows off his offensive potential in flashes, but has yet to put it together to the degree that he's capable. After his showing in Wilmington, he should finally get a chance at seeing some exhibition action for Boston after being returned to junior before the games started. There is nothing more for Button to learn at the d-camps- unless the team wants him there for leadership and to mentor the new prospects, he has proven that he has the skill to be a solid prospect. Now, he just needs to perform.
Button looks like a solid No. 4 or 5 in the NHL with a chance to develop into a middling No. 3 if he hits his offensive upside. One obstacle for Button is to resist being too safe or conservative- has the ability to open things up, so once he gets a feel for the pro game in Providence this season, would be good to see him spread the wings and jump into the play a little more. His size will not be an issue, as he has the skating chops and will likely be stronger than average given his diligent off-ice work habits. How far he goes and how quickly he makes the jump will likely depend largely on factors beyond his control, as Boston is pretty well stacked with defensemen under contract at present, but if he makes the same kind of statement in September that he did in July, he'll force the Bruins to re-think his timeline a bit. The team was thrilled to land Button in the late-third round in '09, and Bruce Cassidy did say that Button will likely have to carry more of the mail defensively for him in the AHL this season, so there will be a steady growth and development process given the team's current depth chart.
"I thought Ryan Button had a good day today, I thought his play has come around. But, you know, on this short period of time it doesn’t really, nothing’s really changed for the good or bad. The projections that I have, that we have, remain the same."- Bruins GM Peter Chiarelli, July 11, 2011
"You see the skating ability he has and we’ve worked awfully hard with him the last couple years to try and understand the d zone a little bit better. And be committed to some things there, he’s bought into that."- Bruins Assistant GM Don Sweeney on Button; July 11, 2011
"Well, he was drafted and he was a great skater, he still is, very mobile, can push the puck up the ice. He’s got decent hockey sense, that’s an area that most kid come out of junior, if they’re good skaters, get away with being able to do certain things because they can recover and that’s what we saw last year. Some of the things he probably got away with, with cheating up in the neutral zone to try to pinch off some plays, he got exposed a couple of times, and he knew it and he learned. We just want to see him, again, we talk about consistency in a defenseman because every mistake gets magnified when you’re back there, so he’ll have to go through that process. But he’s stronger than he has been, and that’s natural, every year at that age you get a little stronger, so that will help in his battles. That’s an area that he’s going to have to be a good contributor in, as a defensive, shut down type of guy."- Providence Bruins head coach Bruce Cassidy at 2011 Bruins Development Camp; July 8, 2011
"Maybe he’ll grow into the other part of it offensively. That’s something we’re looking at. But when you have guys like [David] Warsofsky, he’s down there, and [Matt] Bartkowski, pulling some guys that are going to play ahead of him probably, in those situations, his best chance would be to just be solid one-on-one, move the puck, keep it simple, I know it sounds like a cliché but that’s how I see him down the road, and maybe his game blossoms offensively. But that’s not something that he should be focused on right out of the gate."- Cassidy on Button; July 8, 2011
"I'm just a lot more relaxed this year. I know the coaching staff, I know the trainer, I know the general managers; (Don) Sweeney. I just know everyone. I'm a lot more comfortable and I'm not afraid to come ask and I can also help the young guys out. They're here for the first time like I was last year, so I have the responsibility to help them out."- Ryan Button to B2011DW, Wilmington, Mass.; July 6-10, 2010
"The first day (at camp) was a lot of team-bonding stuff; having to do stuff together, having to help each other out. Then, the second day was swimming and kind of helping each other again. It was all about helping each other; that was the main thing and objective to help your teammates. It wasn't about yourself, but your teammates. They told us straight out, 'We don't care about you, you don't care about yourself. It's all about your teammates-- it's all about the guy beside you. If they fail, then we all fail.' I think it was really good to start off with that and kind of bond us as a team-- well, we're not a team, but we're here for a good week, so it's good to know the guys and I think it really sped up the process of meeting people and getting on the same page."- Ryan Button, Wilmington, Mass.; July 6-10, 2010
“Actually, physically, he surprised me a little bit walking through the door. I think he hit a little growth spurt during the course of 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 bit of work; he’s working with a bunch of pro guys in the off-season and the fruits of those labors are starting to bear forward. So, I’m happy with where he’s at right now. But again, he’s got a long way to go and he understands that. But he’s a good skater and yet you get on the power skating side and dial it down to little specifics and everybody has things to work on.”- Bruins Assistant GM Don Sweeney on Button, Wilmington, Mass.; July 6-10, 2010