Even with numerous suitors lining up to try and sign him, Will Butcher isn’t making any unreasonable demands as a free agent.
Case in point, the 22-year-old defensemen — the same guy who just won the Hobey Baker Award after a terrific senior year at the University of Denver — isn’t saying he needs to play in the NHL next season.
“What ends up winning the day, I’m not sure,” Butcher’s agent, Brain Bartlett, told the Tampa Bay Times. “But we have not told teams that if you don’t have an NHL spot for him in training camp, don’t bother even calling. It’s quite the opposite.”
Perhaps Butcher is using Justin Schultz‘s experience in Edmonton as a guide. Schultz, a highly sought-after college free agent in the summer of 2012, was thrown right into the deep end with the Oilers, and only the Pittsburgh Penguins could save him from drowning.
Not to suggest Schultz made unreasonable demands of the Oilers — he insisted he wasn’t guaranteed ice time — but Edmonton’s blue line was so bereft of talent that he got it all the same.
Given what Bartlett had to say, it may be that Butcher is looking for a team that, above all else, can guarantee his proper development.
The NHL ice time can come when he’s ready for it.