DETROIT – University of Denver defenseman Will Butcher, who was named the National Collegiate Hockey Conference player of the year on Thursday and was a 2013 draft choice of the Colorado Avalanche, will soon be offered an NHL contract by the Avs, BSN Denver has learned.

An NHL source said the Avalanche, after internal deliberations, will make an earnest contract offer to the DU senior and captain, who played Friday night in a game against the University of North Dakota in St. Paul, Minn.

It has been an open question of late as to whether the Avs would offer Butcher a contract before he is eligible to become an unrestricted free agent Aug. 15. Under NHL bylaws, even though the Avs drafted him in the fifth round of the 2013 draft, he can become unrestricted if the team didn’t offer him a contract by Aug. 15. The Avs now intend to offer him a competitive deal.

At 5-10, 190 pounds, Butcher still faces questions about his size for an NHL that is getting bigger and faster by the month it seems. But the Avs, according to the NHL source, are sufficiently impressed by Butcher’s hockey sense to overcome doubts about his size, at least in offering an initial deal.

The Avs were not sufficiently impressed by Butcher’s talents to offer him a deal last year, despite a vocal chorus that said it would be foolish not to do so. But they are now. Butcher, the Avs feel, proved his worth in a senior season for the Pioneers that saw the Wisconsin native finish second in NCAA scoring among defensemen, with 35 points in 38 games.



Adrian Dater

Adrian Dater is a staff writer with BSNDenver. He started his journalism career way, way back in 1988 as a proofreader with the Concord Monitor as a kid out of college (Keene State College), and has wended its way since with a 25-year stop at The Denver Post, 20 of which were spent as the beat writer of the Colorado Avalanche, from its inception in 1995. Adrian has also worked as a primary hockey writer with Sports Illustrated, The Sporting News, The Hockey News, and Bleacher Report. He is the author of seven sports books, including the best-selling “Blood Feud: Colorado Avalanche v. Detroit Red Wings, The Inside Story of Pro Sports’ Nastiest and Best Rivalry of Its Era” and “100 Things Avalanche Fans Should Know and Do Before They Die”, which was published in October, 2016.

  • Puck Swami

    If I am Butcher, I would wait until August 15th, become an unrestricted Free Agent and go to any team wishing to sign him (there will be many offers). The Avs are a dumpster fire right now…