Hobey Baker-winning defenseman Will Butcher is now an unrestricted free agent, and is likely to draw his share of suitors. So far, however, the Lightning isn't among them. Butcher, 22, drafted by the Avalanche in 2013, is expected to chat with several teams, reportedly including the Sabres, Devils and Golden Knights. The left-shot defenseman is a strong puck-mover, with 43 points in 37 games for the Pioneers en route to the NCAA Championship. Agent Brian Bartlett said Butcher could sign with a team in the next week or so, but Tampa Bay has yet to reach out. Bartlett said Butcher doesn't require a guranteed NHL roster spot, that he'd be open to starting in the AHL if it was the right organization and fit. "What ends up winning the day, I'm not sure," Bartlett told the Times. "But we have not told teams that if you don't have an NHL spot for him in training camp, don't bother even calling. It's quite the opposite." So why wouldn't the Lightning kick the tires on Butcher? There's still time, of course. But it's been well-documented Tampa Bay has a current glut of potentially eight NHL caliber defensemen, including prized prospect Mikhail Sergachev, another left-shot, who will be given every chance to make the roster out of camp. Victor Hedman, Slater Koekkoek and Braydon Coburn are also left shot defensemen expected to be on the team.
Lightning not among early suitors for Will Butcher
Tampa Bay Times | Aug 17