Report: Buffalo Sabres to meet with Hobey Baker winner Will Butcher

CHICAGO, IL - APRIL 06: Will Butcher
CHICAGO, IL - APRIL 06: Will Butcher /

The Buffalo Sabres are one of the teams that will look to add Will Butcher in hopes of improving their revamped defense.

Hobey Baker winner Will Butcher is set to meet with three different teams.  Those clubs being the New Jersey Devils, the Vegas Golden Knights, and the Buffalo Sabres.

Currently, the defender is property of the Colorado Avalanche, but is looking to test the waters of free agency.  As of Aug. 17 Butcher became a free agent, which allows teams to race for his signature.

Every team that negotiates with Butcher can only offer the same contract. As such, the only thing Buffalo will try to sell him on, is the opportunity he would have on their blue line.

No doubt, there will be fans wondering what the Sabres will potentially be getting in return. Here is’s scouting report:

"Butcher is a smart two-way defenseman. He has the ability to play the point on the power play and kill penalties but his talents lie in the offensive zone. While offensive play is his strength he is a responsible defender. For a player of his size and stature he plays a much bigger game."

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Dmitry Kulikov left the team in the offseason, signing with the Winnipeg Jets, but Buffalo added Marco Sandella and Nathan Beaulieu. If the Sabres were to bring the 22-year-old into that mix, they would have two capable puck-moving defencsmen, especially with the addition of Scandella.

Butcher registered seven goals and 30 assists to help Denver claim the NCAA title.  In his overall collegiate career, Butcher tallied 28 goals and 75 assists in 158 games.

This isn’t the first time a college draft pick has decided to test free agency. Mike Reilly and former Sabres prospect Cal Petersen both declined to sign with the teams that drafted them, instead opting to go elsewhere.  This marks the second time in a row that a Hobey Baker winner decided to go the free agency route, as Jimmy Vesey signed with the Rangers last summer.

The Sabres were also reportedly interested in Blaine Byron, a center that was a former Pittsburgh Penguins draft pick.

Finding a player like Butcher without giving up any assets would be a good start to Buffalo’s new direction under Jason Botterill, who was hired by the Sabres back in May. The team traded for Vesey’s rights at the draft last season in a move that backfired poorly.

With newly appointed head coach Phil Housley‘s experience with the Nashville Predators, it should make a difference for the Sabres. This is why getting a player with Butcher’s potential would give them more options, especially with his offensive capability.

Next: What should we expect from Alexander Nylander?

Do you think the Sabres will get the prized NCAA free agent? Would he be a good fit in Housley’s system? Let us know in the comments section below.