Starting with the big news over the weekend in the announcement that Hobey Baker winner Will Butcher has signed with the New Jersey Devils. By signing with the Devils, Butcher instantly becomes their top defensive prospect and should even be given an extended opportunity to make the NHL roster to start the year. What is curious about his decision is that he played College hockey in Denver so would already have roots and ties to the city. I have never been there but I understand it is a very beautiful and ideal place to live. Also, it is not like the Avalanche are stacked on defense either at the NHL level or with prospects so his opportunity remains relatively the same. The money was not an issue as all teams were limited to the ELC restrictions. Does this mean that the Avalanche are viewed as such a dysfunctional organization that Butcher wanted no part of it? Perhaps he feels the Devils are closer to turning the corner than the Avalanche? All that really matters is that if you own Butcher (63% Fantrax owned) and have been patiently waiting for him, the wait is over. The Devils top four defense seems likely to be
Andy Greene – Ben Lovejoy
John Moore – Damon Severson
That leaves two spots open on defense and here are the candidates. Will Butcher who offers offensive upside and could be eased into the NHL in a bottom pairing in insulated situations and on the power play. Yaroslav Dyblenko, 23-year-old free agent signed this summer from the KHL. He has more pro experience than Butcher playing the last four years in the KHL and is more of an all-around player with less offensive upside. Steve Santini, big defensive defenseman who had 38 games in the NHL last year. Micro Mueller, recently acquired from San Jose and resigned to a multi-year contract indicates the Devils intentions for him.
In summary, the opportuni