New Jersey Devils Preseason Players To Watch: Will Butcher

(Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
(Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images) /

The New Jersey Devils roster remains up in the air, which means there are plenty of players to watch as they fight for a spot on the Opening Night roster. Will Butcher is fighting for a spot on the defense.

This feels like cheating. Will Butcher already showed people need to pay attention to him after the first preseason game against the Washington Capitals. He played well for the New Jersey Devils.

Butcher is fighting for one of the final two spots on the Devils defense. He signed with the team in August, after he became a free agent following his college career. During his time on the powerplay, he showed he had enough to play at the NHL level right now.

With all that being said, he isn’t a lock to make this team. He is still prone to mistakes, something we also saw in the game against the Capitals. Butcher missed his guy on a shorthanded chance, and that guy sent a rebound past Keith Kinkaid for the Caps only goal. Those mistake need to get fixed before the end of training camp if he wants to hear his name called on Opening Night.

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Butcher is clearly not afraid to take a shot. He took two shots on Monday in close to 20 minutes of ice time, but with more reps in an NHL camp he will get more confident. That will end up in more shots, and eventually some goals.

Butcher took 108 shots for the University of Denver last year, on his way to winning the Hobey Baker Award. That ranked fourth on the team. He only lit the lamp seven times, ending his season with just a 6.5% shooting percentage. Those shots, especially on the powerplay, will produce scoring chances down low.

After his performance on Monday, Butcher looks poised to make this team. Others like Steve Santini and Mirco Mueller will get their shots, but Butcher made it look easy. He has at least two more games to play, but Devils fans need to keep a close eye on his progress. If he is able to eliminate his mistakes, the team may have a very good defensive prospect that could work out sooner rather than later.