NHL Rumor Mill – August 16, 2017
Updates on Will Butcher and David Pastrnak in your NHL rumor mill.
THE DENVER POST: Mike Chambers reports a source said former Colorado Avalanche prospect defenseman Will Butcher will meet with the Buffalo Sabres, New Jersey Devils and Vegas Golden Knights. Butcher, the 2017 Hobey Baker Award winner, became an unrestricted free agent yesterday. Chambers believes there’s still a chance the 23-year-old blueliner could circle back to the Avalanche, but only after he’s visited other interested teams.
SPORTSNET: Luke Fox lists the Chicago Blackhawks, Detroit Red Wings, Montreal Canadiens, Boston Bruins and Minnesota Wild, along with the Sabres and Devils, among the clubs that could have interest in Butcher. He also notes the Toronto Maple Leafs have a spot open now that Alexey Marchenko has departed to the KHL. Butcher’s agent, Brian Bartlett, said his client is exploring all options and hasn’t ruled out returning to the Avs.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: As I pointed out yesterday, the strict limitations on NHL entry-level contracts means playing time, not money, will likely determine where Butcher signs. It could take several days or possibly a week or two before he reaches a decision.
THE BOSTON GLOBE: Kevin Paul Dupont reports Bruins general manager Don Sweeney said he’s not trading restricted free agent winger David Pastrnak. Sweeney’s brief statement comes in response to recent rumors suggesting difficulties in re-signing the 21-year-old winger’s could prompt the Bruins to put him on the trade block. Pastrnak’s agent, J.P. Barry, said his client prefers a long-term deal with the Bruins. He adds talks with Sweeney have been “very open”, adding there’s still plenty of time to get a deal done.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Pastrnak trade rumor took off on Monday when NHL analyst Brian Lawton tweeted, “With what I am hearing I would not be surprised if David Pasternak
@NHLBruins is traded. #contractproblems ” However, Lawton didn’t say the Bruins were shopping Pastrnak, only that he wouldn’t be surprised if they did because of supposed contract problems. He was merely voicing his opinion on the subject. Yes, the Bruins traded promising young players in the past (Phil Kessel, Tyler Seguin and Dougie Hamilton) but I don’t see Pastrnak following them. He’ll be re-signed.