The Chicago Blackhawks have made improving their team defense a priority as they look toward the future, and they could have another intriguing option on the horizon.
According to multiple reports, Colorado Avalanche prospect Will Butcher is unlikely to sign with the team and is looking toward becoming an unrestricted free agent in August. Butcher, a product of the University of Denver, won the Hobey Baker Award as the nation’s best collegiate player this year after scoring seven goals and dishing out 30 assists in his final college season.
Thanks in large part to Butcher’s help, the Pioneers captured the NCAA championship at the Frozen Four in Chicago earlier this year.
If the Blackhawks are looking for a smart investment in the future, Butcher could be their guy. The team has started to alleviate their problem of having too many left-handed defensemen in their system with the additions of Connor Murphy and Henri Jokiharju, so adding a lefty like Butcher wouldn’t be as big an issue as it would have been before the offseason got underway.
Butcher could very well need a year of AHL seasoning before coming to the NHL, but if he plays his way into a role out of training camp, the Blackhawks certainly have room for him.
The pursuit of Butcher wouldn’t officially begin until Aug. 15, but the Blackhawks could keep an eye on the talented blue liner, as he’ll be highly sought after.