2022 Player Report Card: Will Butcher

He is evidently not the player that he once looked he could be

Next up in our 2022 Buffalo Sabres player report cards is defenseman Will Butcher.

Total Season Stats: 37 GP | 2 G | 6 A | 8 PTS

Age: 27

Contract Status: Signed through to 2021-22 at $3.733 million, UFA this summer

There was a ‘last-chance saloon’ feel to this trade last summer when the New Jersey Devils shipped off Butcher along with a fifth-round pick to Buffalo for future considerations. His performance this season showed that the Devils were right to give up on him.

Averaging about sixteen and a half minutes of ice time in less than half a season’s worth of games, it would have been no surprise if he was trotted out in a game and the scoresheet instead read #4 - Warm Body. It’s not not funny that he shares the same initials as that well-known member of the Sabres too.

With the amount of young talent looking to push it’s way into the parent club this summer, there is simply no reason for General Manager Kevyn Adams to even considering bringing back the defenseman, even at half his current cap hit.

Butcher blocked fewer shots per game than his usual, didn’t give away the puck much, almost never won it back either, only managed more hits per 60 than Owen Power, was absolutely middling in most of the possession metrics.. like I said, warm body. Despite having played in the league for five seasons, showed little maturity or leadership that would lead us to believe that he could be a mentor for any of the young upcoming Sabres.

Considering what his potential was when he was picked by the Colorado Avalanche in the fifth round back in 2013, it can be argued that the draft didn’t lie and he turned out to be exactly what his position said he would be.

There is no need whatsoever for the Sabres to offer him a new deal, even if it is only to make the salary floor — there are other ways to get there, and that should be that.

Grade Will Butcher on his 2021-22 season.

A - excelled above expectation5
B - did better than expectation3
C - met expectation61
D - did worse than expectation230
F - did much worse than expectation78