At long last, this years Hobey Baker winner will join an NHL franchise. He announced his decision Sunday, the team and the opportunity to play drove his decision to play for the Devils.
Butcher, 22, was selected by the Colorado Avalanche in the fifth round (No. 123) of the 2013 NHL Draft but elected not to sign with them and became an unrestricted free agent Aug. 16. A college player has four years to sign with the team that drafts him before he can become an unrestricted free agent on Aug. 16 of that fourth year.
Butcher had 37 points (seven goals, 30 assists) in 43 games last season, his fourth at Denver. He was the Pioneers captain and helped them win the NCAA championship. He is the first defenseman to win the Hobey Baker Award since Matt Gilroy of Boston University in 2009.
This is a huge development in the NHL and in New Jersey, more to come on the signing.