The Pittsburgh Penguins have placed defenseman Will Butcher on waivers. Butcher has yet to play this season, opening the year on season-opening injured reserve with an undisclosed injury that held him out of the entirety of training camp and the preseason. The Penguins’ AHL team, the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins, has also released veteran professional Mark Pysyk from his professional tryout. The coupling of these moves could suggest that Butcher may be healthy enough to return to action soon.
The Penguins signed Butcher to a one-year, two-way, $775K contract this summer. The deal brought Butcher into his fourth NHL organization, with his career beginning with four seasons in New Jersey before he joined the Buffalo Sabres and Dallas Stars for one season each. Butcher spent the entirety of the 2022-23 season on loan to the Texas Stars, where he led the team’s defensemen in scoring with 43 points in 65 games. The season was Butcher’s first experience in the AHL.
Butcher was drafted by the Colorado Avalanche in the fifth round of the 2013 NHL Draft but failed to sign with the team. Instead, he joined the Devils’ lineup ahead of the 2017-18 season, after completing four years at the University of Denver. This includes serving as the team’s top-scoring defenseman in 2016-17, when current Boston Bruins head coach Jim Montgomery led the Pioneers to an NCAA championship win over Minnesota-Duluth.
Butcher’s rookie NHL season saw him record 44 points in 81 games and saw him rank ninth in Calder Trophy voting. He also earned Lady Byng votes in the 2017-18 and 2019-20 seasons. He’s since totaled 275 career NHL games, scoring 114 points and recording a -37 over five years in the league.