The Golden Knights will have competition trying to sign college hockey’s top prospect.
Defenseman Will Butcher, last season’s Hobey Baker Award winner, had discussions with five NHL teams on his first day of free agency Wednesday and has scheduled talks with more teams during the next couple days, according to the Associated Press.
The Knights are among the teams with an interest in Butcher.
Butcher’s agent Stephen Bartlett declined comment when reached by the Review-Journal on Wednesday.
Butcher, 22, became a free agent after turning down an opportunity to sign with the Colorado Avalanche, who selected him in the fifth round of the 2013 draft. The Avalanche had until Tuesday to sign Butcher until his draft rights lapsed and he became an unrestricted free agent.
In a statement released Wednesday, the Avalanche said it made Butcher a maximum offer in April. “He wanted to test the market and that is his right and decision,” the Avalanche said.
Now the 5-foot-10-inch, 190-pound Butcher is attracting a lot of attention after scoring 37 points in 43 games as a senior and leading Denver to the national championship.
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