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Sabres acquire defenseman Will Butcher, 5th-round draft choice from New Jersey

Sabres acquire defenseman Will Butcher, 5th-round draft choice from New Jersey

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Devils Islanders Hockey

Will Butcher played four seasons with the New Jersey Devils.

As Sabres fans were processing the news that Linus Ullmark bolted for Boston, news broke that Buffalo acquired left-shot defenseman Will Butcher and a 2022 fifth-round draft choice from New Jersey in exchange for future considerations.

Butcher, 26, an all-rookie selection in 2017-18, has appeared in 238 games across four seasons with the Devils, averaging 17:50 of ice time during that span. He was the odd-man out in New Jersey after the Devils reshaped their blue line by signing top free agent Dougie Hamilton and acquiring Ryan Graves from Colorado.

A source told The Buffalo News that the Devils are retaining $1 million of Butcher's $3.733 million contract, which expires at the end of the 2021-22 season.

Butcher can kill penalties and block shots, making him a possible replacement for defenseman Jake McCabe, who signed a four-year, $16 million contract with the Chicago Blackhawks. Butcher also played at the USA Hockey National Team Development Program when Sabres coach Don Granato was there.

Last season, Butcher averaged 19:02 of ice time across 23 games, finishing with one goal and 11 points. Since the start of the 2017-18 season, Butcher ranked second among all Devils defensemen in power-play ice time and fourth in blocked shots.

Butcher, though, was not much of a points producer, totaling 14 goals and 106 points in 238 games. A fifth-round draft choice of Colorado in 2013, Butcher won the NCAA's Hobey Baker Award in 2017 and was a target of former Sabres General Manager Tim Murray, However, Butcher opted to sign with the Devils.

The Sabres' options at left-shot defense are Butcher, Rasmus Dahlin, Mattias Samuelsson, Robert Hagg and Jacob Bryson.

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News Sports Reporter

I've covered the Sabres and National Hockey League for The Buffalo News since November 2018. My previous work included coverage of the Pittsburgh Pirates and University of Pittsburgh athletics for DKPittsburghSports.com.

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