An integral part of a University of Denver team that made it all the way to the Frozen Four last season, defenseman Will Butcher figures to see his role expand even further next season.

On Thursday, Butcher was named captain of the Pioneers for the 2016-17 season, when he will be a senior.

“It’s a huge honor,” Butcher told the Denver Post. “Such a prestigious program. Anytime you’re selected to represent the program in a crucial way, it’s a big deal. I’m just honored that the coaching staff felt highly enough of me to be that guy.”

The 21-year-old Butcher made huge strides last season. An alternate captain for the Pioneers, he scored nine goals and 32 points in 39 games, which was good enough for third in the NCAA among defensemen. He was also named First-Team All-NCHD and a Second-Team All-American.

A fifth-round selection (123rd overall) by the Colorado Avalanche in the 2013 NHL Entry Draft, Butcher plans to attend the Avs’ prospect camp next month, although it appears unlikely that he will sign with the club before he becomes an unrestricted free agent next summer (according to the Denver Post).

Known as an offensive defenseman, Butcher is also responsible in his own end. With his two-way game, he can play in all situations. He also plays a physical game, despite his small stature (5-foot-10, 190 pounds).