The Buffalo Sabres have acquired defenceman Will Butcher and a fifth-round pick from the New Jersey Devils in exchange for future considerations.
We have acquired defenseman Will Butcher and a fifth-round pick in the 2022 NHL Draft from the New Jersey Devils.
— Buffalo Sabres (@BuffaloSabres) July 28, 2021
Will Butcher Traded to the Buffalo Sabres
Butcher played on the Devils for four seasons. Originally drafted in the fifth round in 2013, Butcher opted not to sign with the Colorado Avalanche, despite the fact they drafted him. Instead, he exercised his right to free agency and signed with New Jersey instead.
In 238 career games with them, the 26-year-old has scored 14 goals and 102 points, 40 of which have come on the powerplay. However, despite his 40-point production in his rookie season, his point-scoring has waned over his short career.
Truth be told, the writing was on the wall for Butcher’s time with the Devils. During the 2021 trade deadline, there were rumours that he was garnering interest from defensively-light teams like the Boston Bruins. What’s more, Butcher wasn’t getting any game time. In 2020-21, the former Denver Pioneer was a healthy scratch often, with head coach Lindy Ruff clearly not taking a shine to him.
As a result, the Devils have cut their losses and handed Butcher along with a draft pick to Buffalo. The move allows them to free up some useable cap space.
Another Buffalo Signing
Elsewhere, Sabres general manager Kevyn Adams also re-signed unrestricted free-agent Brandon Davidson to a one-year contract worth $750,000. Davidson is a left-shot defenceman with 180 career NHL games spanning six years. Although he has only made 28 appearances in the last three seasons.
What This Means Going Forward
With these most recent additions to next year’s roster, Buffalo have compiled a bevy of left defencemen; in total, they have six active left-shots and that’s not even including the number one overall pick from this year’s entry draft, Owen Power. Building from the backend is hardly a bad idea, but they will likely have to move on from a few of these options eventually.
Meanwhile, New Jersey have freed up just over $3.7 million dollars in cap space by jettisoning Butcher’s final year. This leaves them with a further $22 million dollars in space to make further moves if they so desire. And at this stage, you shouldn’t count them out. After signing the best UFA defenceman in Dougie Hamilton, general manager Tom Fitzgerald looks to be attempting to accelerate the rebuilding process.