Will Butcher, D
Hometown: Sun Prairie, WI, USA
Drafted: 2013 by Colorado Avalanche, 123rd Overall
October 2017 – The 2017 Hobey Baker winner has exploded onto the scene with an impressive start to his NHL career. Butcher became the first NHL rookie defenseman to have nine assists in his first six games. Butcher has been the quarterback of the very successful New Jersey power play and has accumulated over half of his points with the man advantage. Still seeing limited minutes and adjusting to the NHL learning curve, Butcher’s overall game should grow as the season continues. Grant Frey
August 2017 – The New Jersey Devils win the Will Butcher sweepstakes and sign the free agent to a two-year contract worth $925,000 a year. Butcher instantly becomes the Devils top defensive prospect and is likely the reason why he choose New Jersey as it offers the path of least resistence to the NHL. The Devils defense is so thin there is a possibility for Butcher to make the roster on opening night.
July 2017 – Butcher has decided to spurn the Avalanche and become a free agent in August. This is a major loss for the Avs and a major get for anyone looking to increase their defensive depth with a Hobey Baker winner. Expect him to go somewhere that can give him a shot of playing in the NHL right away. Hayden Soboleski
April 2017 – Butcher has won the 2017 Hobey Baker Award as the NCAA's top player. The 22-year-old has turned into a 5th round steal…if the the Avs can get him signed before he becomes a free agent this summer. Hayden Soboleski
March 2017 – Butcher has been nominated for the Hobey Baker award after a fantastic year in the NCAA. The Avalanche have not yet signed the offensively gifted youngster, who will turn pro next season and surely find a home even if its with a different organization who cares less about size. He will likely require some AHL seasoning before jumping to the big league, but when he does make the jump it will be to create offence and run a powerplay unit, so expect fantasy relevance when the time comes. Hayden Soboleski
November 2016 – Butcher has returned to Denver University for a final season, once again serving as alternate captain and powerplay quarterback. He sit second on the team in points despite being a defenceman, and tops the team in both blocks and powerplay points. He is putting the puck on net himself more than in past seasons, using his hard slapshot when possible. As the only Avs prospect with true potential to run a man-advantage, this offensive development is welcome. Hayden Soboleski
March 2016 – Butcher had a strong NCAA season with 31 points (eight goals, 23 assists, 13 powerplay points) in 38 games. He recently scored two goals in an effort to lead his team one game closer to the Frozen Four. He has been the top defenseman for Denver while also manning the top powerplay unit. Hayden Soboleski
November 2015 – Butcher has had an extremely strong start to the 2015-16 NCAA season, leading his team in points (three goals, nine assists in 12 games), plus/minus (plus-ten), PIM (17), and shorthanded points (two). He also has four powerplay points (good for second on the squad) while serving as an Assistant Captain, and has been named the NCHC Defenceman-of-the-week twice already. After impressing in Avs training camp, the team is surely thrilled to see Butcher's progression take another jump this year. Hayden Soboleski
May 2015 – Butcher returned to the University of Denver in the NCAA for the 2014-15 season, scoring four goals and 14 assists in 38 games. This was only a slightly higher output than his eight goals and eight assists with the team in 2013-14, but his overall game improved enough to earn a spot on the top pairing for the USA in the World Junior U20 Championships. His growth into a strong powerplay quarterback has continued, serving the role both in the NCAA and on team USA. Hayden Soboleski
January 2014 – Will Butcher was one of 7 defensemen selected to the USA roster for the World Junior Championships in Malmo, Sweden. Butcher had a solid showing at the World Juniors, he played in five games and scored five points, two of those on points were goals on the power play. Andrew Ward
June 2013 – Will Butcher is an undersized offensive defenceman with strong mobility, quick feet, a good hockey mind and the ability to lead the rush. As with most offensive defensemen, Butcher has a tendency to play a bit risky and is prone to costly turnovers but he does show an ability to defend well and is coachable in that area. Butcher entered his draft year with expectations that he would produce big numbers but feel a tad short with 11 goals and 37 points in 67 games for the USNTDP U18 squad. Butcher’s patience and ability to walk the line with ease makes him an excellent powerplay quarterback option. Brendan Ross
Fantasy Outlook: B
Despite a smaller stature, Butcher provides serious offensive upside and many peropheral stats in fantasy leagues.
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