The Colorado Avalanche are still hoping to sign Hobey Baker winner Will Butcher, but the star defenseman doesn’t want a contract offer just yet. Butcher told Mike Chambers of the Denver Post that he would rather sit with Avalanche GM Joe Sakic and discuss the matter with his parents before any offer was made. That’s a reasonable ask, but it won’t assuage any fears in Colorado about him following in the footsteps of Jimmy Vesey and hitting the open market this August.
Butcher was drafted in the fifth-round back in 2013, but is now just a few months away from becoming a free agent should he decide to wait that long. He could still obviously sign with the Avalanche after seeing what else is out there, but with his continued development into an NHL-ready defender, they’d be up against several other teams in pursuit of him. The 22-year old had 37 points in 43 games this year as captain of the NCAA Championship winning University of Denver.
- Adrian Dater of BSN Denver has been told that the team plans on protecting Semyon Varlamov over Calvin Pickard in the upcoming expansion draft. The team must select just one of their goaltenders to expose, and it apparently will be the younger, cheaper Pickard. It seems like a very odd decision, given Varlamov’s injury status and expensive contract, both of which would likely be deterrents to the Golden Knights over some of the other available goaltenders. Pickard on the other hand would cost Vegas just $1MM next season and continue to be a controllable RFA after that. Perhaps this is just gamesmanship from the Colorado front office, but losing Pickard for nothing seems like a terrible mistake by a front office who should be looking at the future.
- Jarome Iginla hasn’t yet decided if he’ll play another season, but he wants to. In a conference call with reporters today including Eric Francis of Sportsnet, Iginla said he’ll have to wait and see what kind of offers he receives this summer but that his time with the Los Angeles Kings down the stretch has revitalized him somewhat. He seemed it, as the legendary winger scored six goals and nine points in 19 games for the Kings and showed that he is still a physical force. Amazingly, four of the six goals were game winners as he tried to drag the under-performing Kings into the playoffs. As we detailed prior to the deadline, Iginla might still have something left to give and shouldn’t be wholly judged on the disappointing first half he had with the Colorado Avalanche—just as other talented players from that team should be.