NEWARK, NJ—The wait is over! This year’s Hobey Baker Award recipient, Will Butcher, has chosen to sign a two-year entry level contract with the New Jersey Devils. The deal was announced on Sunday, August 28. According to the Associated Press, Butcher will be paid $925,000 per year and may receive $850,000 in bonuses.
This year, with 37 points (comprised of seven goals and 30 assists), the 5 foot and 10 inch tall, 190 pound defenseman helped lead the University of Denver Pioneers to an NCAA championship win. He received the Hobey Baker Award as the top men’s hockey player in the NCAA Division I. Jim Montgomery, Denver’s head coach, described Butcher as having “an elite level brain and really good poise.”
Butcher chose not to sign with the Colorado Avalanche (who selected him 123rd overall in 2013), he became a free agent on August 16. Along with the Devils, he was reportedly considering the Buffalo Sabres, Vegas Golden Knights, Los Angeles Kings, and Pittsburgh Penguins. Butcher’s agent, Brian Barlett, explained that the process was “difficult” for him.
“Ultimately, Will and his family felt like New Jersey provided a good mix of opportunity, coaching, development, style of play, and returning players. Will has always been an offensive defenseman and felt like if he continues to develop, there could be a chance to help on New Jersey’s power play in the future,” Barlett disclosed.
“We are immensely excited to have Will and his family join our organization. This continues to represent what we want to do as a team: Bring in talented individuals, invest in their talent, and develop them as we progress,” Devils General Manager Ray Shero told NorthJersey.com.
Butcher will join fellow rookie Nico Hischier (this year’s No. 1 overall pick), 18, and at the Prudential Center this coming season.