Colorado Avalanche Should Sign Will Butcher at Conclusion of Senior Year

Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports /

The Colorado Avalanche have a woefully insufficient blueline, and need all of the prospects they can get, which is why they need to sign Will Butcher at the conclusion of his senior year.

Will Butcher is probably the most overlooked defenseman currently in the Colorado Avalanche system. He has no highlight videos on, scouts do not have much to say about him, and he’s yet to sign a contract with the Avs.

However, he was recently named as one of the 66 nominated players for the Hobey Baker Award, which goes to the top player in NCAA hockey.

He is also captaining the No. 2 ranked team in the country to an amazing season, as they are now 20-6-4, and one of only two teams to amass 20 wins so far.

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Furthermore, Butcher now has 26 points in 30 games this season, and is easily on pace for his best season yet. The point is, the Colorado Avalanche would be crazy not to sign him after the conclusion of his senior year.

What’s the Future for Will Butcher Hold?

This is a difficult question to answer, but if the Avs sign him, then he is likely to spend at least one year in the AHL.

The problem he faces is the depth the Avs have on the left side of their blueline. The names ahead of him include Chris Bigras, Nikita Zadorov, and obviously Francois Beauchemin if the Avs are unable to ditch his contract.

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Even Sergei Boikov and Andrei Mironov could present problems in his ability to make the Avalanche. There are a lot of names in front of Butcher, and the Avs could be looking for a more defensively minded d-man.

You see, Will Butcher is an offensive defenseman through and through. He has a small stature at just 5 foot 10 and 190 pounds, and he is known for his puck-moving skills rather than his defensive zone coverage.

Nonetheless, he is by no means a liability in his own zone. He combines good positional awareness with apt stick-checking ability to hassle forwards in his own zone. And he knows he’s smart:

"Thinking the game is my strongest attribute. I think plays really well, and I try to anticipate. I’m not maybe the fastest guy in the world, but I try to use my mind to help me be faster out there, and I think that’s one thing that I need to do every single night that’ll help me in the pro game."

He obviously has eyes toward eventually making the NHL, but what drafted prospect does not? The question is whether or not he’ll ever make the NHL.

The Avs Need to Take a Chance on Butcher Making the NHL

When you’re a team starving for help on the blueline, you take a chance on any and all potential blueline help in your system. Luckily, the Avalanche have a wealth of potential in their prospect ranks.

Butcher is just one of those options obviously, but he’s taken the time to mature, and the Avs have given it to him. He knows what it’s like to lead a team now, and he knows what it’s like to play for a very successful team.

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Butcher wasn’t drafted in the early rounds — he was drafted in the fifth round — but he has developed well.

He has the potential to at least become a reliable bottom pairing defenseman, but his ceiling extends to the top four. The Avs would be crazy not to offer him a contract worthy of staying in Colorado.


There are a lot of important decisions coming up for the Avs, but paying their prospects has to be included in those decisions.

Will Butcher is by no means the most inspiring defenseman in the Colorado Avalanche system, but he has value. He will most certainly find a team to sign with in August if the Avs fail to lock him up after the conclusion of his senior year.

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By all appearances, it seems as if he has enjoyed his time in Colorado, and would like to sign. However, he obviously has the option to wait it out like Jimmy Vesey did last summer.

If the Avs continue to remain unconvinced by Will Butcher, then I predict they will regret their chance at signing him.

Time will tell what they end up doing, but at this point there is reason to be disappointed in Avs’ management for showing little interest in Butcher.