Will Butcher was back at Magness Arena on Tuesday night to celebrate the University of Denver men’s hockey team’s eighth national championship. That is not all the Pioneers captain did on Tuesday however. The defenseman also met with Colorado Avalanche general manager Joe Sakic.
“We hope to sign him,” Sakic told the Denver Post. “He’s had a tremendous year. Since the moment we drafted him, four years in college, he’s gotten better every year and he’s obviously hot, the Hobey Baker winner, and hopefully we can sign him and have him be part of the organization.”
Butcher was named the best player in college hockey on Friday. On Saturday, he won a national championship. A player with that type of resume would be a credit to any organization. Unfortunately for Sakic, Butcher said he wasn’t ready to sign.
“I told him I didn’t want an offer yet,” Butcher told The Denver Post. “I wanted to sit with him, talk with him about my year, what they’re thinking, what their philosophy is going to be. My parents are coming in this weekend for the banquet, and I want to talk to my parents before they offer me anything.”
Last spring, Butcher the Avalanche expressed that they weren’t interesting in signing Butcher (a message that was believed to have originated from Patrick Roy). My, how the tables have turned. As he is able to become an unrestricted free agent on Aug. 15, it’s far from a certainty Butcher will ever don the burgundy and blue; though it can’t be a bad sign that he and Sakic have opened a dialogue.
“He came in and gave me his whole spiel about changes in the program, going younger and everything like that. I told him I’d get back in touch with him,” Butcher told the Denver Post of his meeting with Sakic. “I’m weighing all my options right now. I want to take my time. I don’t have anything to rush into right now. I’m not going to play anywhere right now. So I might as well take my time.”