weather icon Clear
RJ App
Vegas News, Alerts, ePaper

Free agent Will Butcher picks Devils over Golden Knights

Updated August 27, 2017 - 5:14 pm

The Golden Knights came up short in the Will Butcher sweepstakes.

Butcher, a prized free-agent defenseman from the University of Denver, signed with the New Jersey Devils on Sunday.

Butcher received a two-year, entry-level contract worth $1.85 million after drawing interest from multiple NHL teams. He visited with the Knights on Tuesday and reportedly also met with the Buffalo Sabres and Los Angeles Kings.

Butcher, 22, won the Hobey Baker Award — college hockey’s equivalent of the Heisman Trophy — and captained Denver to the national championship as a senior.

He was drafted by Colorado in the fifth round in 2013, but did not sign with the Avalanche following his senior season and became an unrestricted free agent Aug. 16.

More than a dozen teams reportedly expressed interest in Butcher before he narrowed his list of finalists last week.

Butcher’s free-agent saga played out for the past several days and even drew a subtweet from Columbus Blue Jackets forward Brandon Dubinsky, who was critical of the process for signing college free agents.

Butcher had 37 points in 43 games in his final collegiate season and would have provided the Golden Knights an offensive-minded puck mover along the blue line.

In New Jersey, he could immediately challenge for playing time with a team that has missed the playoffs the past five seasons.

Despite missing out on Butcher, the Knights have a surplus of defenseman and will face several tough roster decisions when training camp begins Sept. 14.

More Golden Knights: Follow all of our Golden Knights coverage online at reviewjournal.com/GoldenKnights and @HockeyinVegas on Twitter.

Contact David Schoen at dschoen@reviewjournal.com or 702-387-5203. Follow @DavidSchoenLVRJ on Twitter.

Don't miss the big stories. Like us on Facebook.
5 facts about the NHL’s Stanley Cup

Get to know the NHL’s championship trophy better before it gets awarded to either the Vegas Golden Knights or the Washington Capitals.