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Red Wings expected to take a run at college FA Will Butcher

Will Butcher became an unrestricted free agent on Monday after not signing with the Colorado Avalanche, who drafted him in the fifth-round (123rd overall) in 2013, and will have no shortage of suitors.

The 22-year-old defenseman won the Hobey Baker Award in his senior year at the University of Denver, posting seven goals and 30 assists (37 points) in 43 games.

Butcher is a smart two-way defenseman. He has the ability to play the point on the power play and kill penalties but his talents lie in the offensive zone. While offensive play is his strength he is a responsible defender. For a player of his size and stature he plays a much bigger game. – Hockey’s Future

While other teams have a better outlook going forward, the one thing the Red Wings can offer Butcher is a chance to play right away. However, their salary cap situation is less than ideal, so finagling another contract under the cap won’t be an easy task for Ken Holland.

The two-time defending Stanley Cup Champion Pittsburgh Penguins, Chicago Blackhawks, Minnesota Wild, Toronto Maple Leafs and New Jersey Devils are the other teams closely linked to Butcher according to The Detroit News’ Ted Kulfan.

Butcher can only be offered a two-year entry-level contract—and likely still won’t be cheap  enough for the Red Wings’ disastrous situation.