College free-agent defenseman Will Butcher, who visited the Golden Knights this week, is expected to announce his NHL future on Sunday.
“The plan is to decide on Sunday, but not set in stone,” Butcher’s agent, Brian Bartlett, wrote in a text message to the Review-Journal on Thursday. “Vegas still in the mix.”
The Golden Knights, Buffalo Sabres and New Jersey Devils appear to be the top contenders for Butcher, who won the Hobey Baker Award last season as college hockey’s top player and captained the University of Denver to the national championship.
One team that could jump back into the fray for Butcher is Colorado, which originally drafted him in the fifth round in 2013.
The Avalanche failed to sign Butcher by the Aug. 15 deadline, making him an unrestricted free agent.
Butcher visited with the Golden Knights on Tuesday and was in Colorado on Thursday skating at the University of Denver’s pro camp.
The 5-foot-10-inch Butcher produced 37 points in 43 games as a senior and would give the Knights a much-needed offensive presence along the blue line.
Contact David Schoen at firstname.lastname@example.org or 702-387-5203. Follow @DavidSchoenLVRJ on Twitter.
Will Butcher file
■ Position: Defenseman
■ Height/weight: 5-10, 190
■ Shoots: Left
■ Age: 22
■ Hometown: Sun Prairie, Wisconsin
■ College: University of Denver
■ 2016-17 stats: 43 games, seven goals, 30 assists, 37 points
■ Honors: Team captain 2016-17; assistant captain 2015-16; Hobey Baker Award winner 2017
■ Accomplishments: Won a gold medal with Team USA at the 2012 IIHF Under-18 World Championship
■ Favorite athletes: Rafael Nadal, Bubba Watson, Mike Modano
■ Hobbies: Fishing, hunting, hiking, movies