Will Butcher is still taking things slow in regards to his first professional destination, as Kevin Allen of USA Today reports that he’ll soon narrow down his list of teams from 12 to three or four. Those teams will each get a personal visit, after which he’ll make a decision. Allen suggests the process could take “a week or so.”
Butcher has been connected to the Blue Jackets, Devils, Golden Knights, Penguins, over the past week and some speculation that he’d already met with the Buffalo Sabres. The reigning Hobey Baker trophy winner is arguably the most interesting NCAA free agent on the market this summer, and could find an NHL opportunity right away.
- Francois Beauchemin is going back to the Anaheim Ducks, and in a conference call this afternoon told Eric Stephens of the Orange County Register that he was prepared to retire before the team reached out. He had turned down interest from several other teams which he had no history with, but was “thrilled” that Anaheim expressed interest. Beauchemin thinks it is likely that 2017-18 is his final season in the NHL.
- The San Antonio Rampage have signed a pair of veteran minor leaguers, inking goaltender Sam Brittain and defenseman Josh Atkinson to AHL deals. Brittain was a fourth-round pick of the Florida Panthers 2010 but has yet to make it to the NHL. He spent last season split between the Springfield Thunderbirds (AHL) and Manchester Monarchs (ECHL), and became a Group VI unrestricted free agent this summer. Atkinson has spent almost all of his professional career in the ECHL, but got a two-game chance in the AHL with the Chicago Wolves after scoring 50 points in 66 games last season. The offensive explosion was a new development for Atkinson, who didn’t register more than 16 points in a single season at the University of Alaska.