Will Butcher
Will Butcher
26-Year-Old DefensemanD
Buffalo Sabres
2021 Fantasy Outlook
There was no outlook written for Will Butcher in 2021. Check out the latest news below for more on his current fantasy value.
$Signed a three-year, $11.2 million contract with the Devils in July of 2019.
Traded to Buffalo
DBuffalo Sabres
July 28, 2021
Butcher and a 2022 fifth-round pick were traded by the Devils to the Sabres in exchange for future considerations Wednesday.
ANALYSIS
Butcher only appeared in 23 games with the Devils last season, picking up 11 points while averaging 19:02 of ice time per contest. He's making $3.73 million per year, and New Jersey needed to open up cap space to facilitate the signing of Dougie Hamilton, hence the lack of return for the Devils in this deal. Butcher will likely have a prominent role with Buffalo in 2021-22, but he may struggle to produce offensively on a rebuilding Sabres squad.
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NHL Stats
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2019
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2017
2020 NHL Game Log
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2019 NHL Game Log
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2018 NHL Game Log
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2017 NHL Game Log
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2020–21 Time On Ice Stats
  • Average Time On Ice:
    19:02
  • Average Power Play TOI:
    1:20
  • Average Short-Handed TOI:
    0:01
 
Ice Time
Power Play
Short-Handed
2018–19
19:16
2:46
0:08
2019–20
17:55
1:18
0:13
2020–21
19:02
1:20
0:01
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Sabres Power Play Depth Chart
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Past Fantasy Outlooks
2020
2019
2018
2017
Technically, Butcher was ruled out for the rest of the season in early March due to a thumb injury, but he didn't miss much in terms of additional games due to the league going on hiatus a few days later. The two-way, 24-year-old blueliner has steadily seen his numbers drop in each of his past three seasons all the way to last year's career-low 21-point total. That's not exactly the type of trend fantasy players are looking for, nor the Devils faithful, but the silver lining is that it can only get better from here. If he can stay fully fit, the vertically-challenged defenseman still has the tools to be a 30-40 point producer, which would make him a decent fantasy option in 2020-21. Whether he can capitalize on those skills remains to be seen.
Butcher's calling card has been his power-play prowess -- half of his 74 points through two seasons have come with the extra man. As long as the offseason addition of P.K. Subban doesn't push Butcher off the top power-play unit, the skilled passer should continue to rack up plenty of points. Butcher is average at best in his own zone (minus-16 rating) and has averaged just 13 PIM per season, so you're drafting him almost entirely for his offensive ability.
Butcher hit the ground running as a rookie last year, posting 18 points in his first 23 games. While the league figured out how to slow him down a bit after that, the American blueliner still finished with an outstanding 44 points, including 23 with the extra man. He's locked into a role on New Jersey's top power-play unit, which should remain potent as long as a healthy Taylor Hall's sharing the ice with Butcher. The 23-year-old defenseman's rating will likely drop if his minutes become less sheltered in Year 2, but Butcher's upside with the extra man easily overshadows that minor risk.
Butcher was this offseason's collegiate free-agent prize after he declined to sign an entry-level deal with Colorado. Instead, the 22-year-old opted to join the Devils where he figures to start out as a third-pairing defenseman. Selected in the fifth round of the 2013 NHL Draft, the diminutive player spent four seasons with the University of Denver -- including a senior campaign in which he tallied seven goals and 30 helpers in 43 outings. The Wisconsin native's limited stature -- he's just 5-foot-10 and 185 pounds -- undoubtedly will be tested by teams implementing an aggressive forecheck, which could be a red flag for fantasy owners with a heavy weight on plus/minus scoring. Otherwise, he profiles as an intriguing speculative add in virtually any format.
More Fantasy News
Averaging half a point per game
DNew Jersey Devils
April 29, 2021
Butcher dished out two assists -- one on the power play -- in Thursday's 5-3 win over the Flyers.
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Generates helper in loss
DNew Jersey Devils
April 24, 2021
Butcher registered a secondary assist in Saturday's 4-2 loss to the Penguins.
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Three-point period not enough
DNew Jersey Devils
April 20, 2021
Butcher dished out three assists -- one on the power play -- in Tuesday's 7-6 loss to the Penguins.
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Back at practice
DNew Jersey Devils
March 16, 2021
According to Amanda Stein of the Devils' official site, Butcher returned to practice Tuesday, indicating he's cleared the NHL's COVID-19 protocols.
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In COVID-19 protocol
DNew Jersey Devils
Covid-19
March 11, 2021
Butcher was placed in the NHL's COVID-19 protocol Thursday, David Schoen of the Las Vegas Review Journal reports.
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