DU’s Butcher named NCHC player of year

The Denver Post - - SPORTS - By Mike Cham­bers Mike Cham­bers: mcham­bers@den­ver­post.com or @mikecham­bers

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.

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