Will Butcher is going from Denver to the Devils.The 2017 Hobey Baker Memorial Award winner as the top player in NCAA Division I men’s ice hockey this past season, Butcher has signed a two-year contract with the NHL’s New Jersey Devils worth approximately $925,000, as reported at NJ.com. A Wisconsin native who was drafted by the Colorado Avalanche in the fifth round in 2013 just before enrolling at the University of Denver, he eschewed his drafting club to sign with New Jersey as a free agent.
Butcher scored seven goals and added 30 assists for a career-high 37 points in 43 outings in 2016-17 as Denver won its eighth NCAA hockey championship overall, and first since 2005. He also earned All-America honors on defense for the second consecutive season. In 158 career appearances with the Pioneers from 2013 to 2017, Butcher registered 28-75—103 points, including 15 power-play goals and four game-winners, according to USCHO.com, and helped DU to four NCAA Tournament appearances. He prepped with the U.S. National Team Development Program for two seasons prior to joining the Pioneers.Alexander Kerfoot of Harvard, a forward who was drafted by the Devils in the fifth round in 2012, has instead signed with the Avalanche as a free agent. Kerfoot, who last year captained the Crimson to its first NCAA Frozen Four appearance since 1994, recorded career highs of 16-30—46 points and eight power-play goals in 37 contests as Harvard claimed both the ECAC regular-season and tournament titles. He finished with 36 goals and 124 points in 122 career games, and also helped Harvard to three consecutive NCAA Tournament berths over his final three campaigns.