DU’s Butcher named NCHC player of year
minneapolis» University of Denver senior defenseman Will Butcher, the 2013 Avalanche draft pick who is eligible to become an NHL free agent Aug. 15 if he doesn’t sign with Colorado, was named National Collegiate Hockey Conference player of the year and offensive-defensemen of the year Thursday at a banquet to kick off the NCHA Frozen Faceoff at the Target Center.
The Pioneers’ Tanner Jaillet and Henrik Borgstrom also were award winners as goaltender of the year and rookie of the year, respectively.
Butcher’s player of the year award in the country’s toughest conference might help him win the Hobey Baker Award as the NCAA’s best player in two weeks at the Frozen Four in Chicago. Butcher was named one of 10 Hobey Baker finalists Wednesday.
“It’s a huge honor,” Butcher said. “Like I said out there in my speech, this is a team award. I had numerous amounts of assists from guys who went out and did crazy things, like Borgstrom, (Troy) Terry, (Dylan) Gambrell, all those guys. It’s the supporting cast. TJ (Jaillet) really helped my plus-minus. It’s a team award.”
Butcher is tied for second nationally in scoring by a defenseman with 35 points (29 assists) in 38 games. He is fourth among blue-liners in plus-minus, at plus23. Last week, Butcher became a two-time NCHC first-team honoree, and he likely will become a two-time All-American.
Jaillet, a junior, led all NCHC goalies with a 1.65 goals-against average, .936 save percentage and 16 victories in conference play. Overall, Jaillet is 24-4-4 with a 1.84 GAA and .929 save percentage.
Borgstrom, despite missing six games, leads Denver with 21 goals and 38 points in 32 games. Among rookies nationally, the 19-yearold Finn is first in goal-scoring and third in points.