Congratulations to the University of Denver Pioneers for winning the NCAA Championship; now, the Will Butcher watch begins for the Colorado Avalanche.
The DU Pioneers are national champions, and while Will Butcher is enjoying his post victory Sunday, the Colorado Avalanche are probably working up a contract for him to sign.
The question is, will he sign it? After being told last season that the team had no intentions of signing him, you have to wonder if he even wants to sign now.
There will certainly be no shortage of clubs interested in the young man’s rights. So, it’s not like he runs the risk of missing out at an NHL opportunity if he chooses to go to free agency.
However, he would certainly be missing out on the opportunity to stay in Colorado. You would imagine he rather likes being in Colorado at this point, so why not join the NHL club located here?
The Avalanche have one game remaining, so he won’t be joining them until next season at the earliest. However, the San Antonio Rampage have three games remaining, and Butcher could certainly be signed to an amateur contract.
Either way, the watch has begun, and Butcher certainly fits the mold of what coach Jared Bednar is looking for in defensemen. He could also be more defensively sound than Tyson Barrie, and he has some high offensive upside as well.
Is Will Butcher Going to Sign With the Avalanche?
The longer this question remains on the table, the more likely it becomes that Butcher decides to go elsewhere with his talent. Obviously there is no reason for the Avs to panic yet. However, if we get into May without a signing on his end, then you may as well say goodbye to the young man.
He has extreme talent, and he just captained his team to a Championship. He also just won the Hobey Baker Award, which is the most prestigious award in college hockey. Furthermore, he won the NCHC Player of the Year award in March, as well as the Offensive Defenseman of the Year.
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The point is, the Avs would be crazy not to offer him a contract. Luckily, it’s been reported that they have the intent of remedying their mistake last summer.
Nonetheless, the ball is in his court, and he could theoretically choose to play for any team he wants, if he waits until August 15 to become a free agent.
Hopefully the Avs are able to find a way to sign his rights, and get him on this team. The defensive struggles for the Colorado Avalanche are no secret, and Butcher could help to supplant some defensive gaps in the roster as early as next season.
Joe Sakic should be making this the first priority of what promises to be a long offseason.
The Colorado Avalanche have just one game remaining and it’s on Sunday at 4:00pm. They will face the St. Louis Blues on the road, and then the offseason will begin.
Will Butcher will most certainly be priority No. 1 for the Avalanche to start this offseason, but hopefully they are able to knock him off the list quickly.
Then, the expansion draft fiasco with Sven Andrighetto, Mikhail Grigorenko and Matt Nieto will begin. After that, it’s on to the NHL Entry Draft, and hopefully the No. 1 overall pick. Finally, the Avs will hop on the free agency train, and try and stay smart with their money.
Throughout all of this, the trade tracker on Matt Duchene, Gabe Landeskog and even Nathan MacKinnon (now), will be on high alert.
Hopefully the Avs are able to start the offseason strong by signing a good young defenseman, with a bright future, in Will Butcher.