5. Will Butcher: Calder Trophy
Obviously, there is a much better contender for the Calder Trophy on the Devils, but we will get to that in a minute. Will Butcher played very well this preseason after signing with the team. He left the Colorado Avalanche and chose the Devils over multiple contenders. He did so because he wanted a chance to play with a young group while also getting a shot at NHL time.
If the Devils are able to improve the defense exponentially, Butcher may get a chunk of the credit. For one, he and Mirco Mueller are the only additions to last year’s worst unit in the NHL. Both players are bringing something different to the Devils, and both deserve a spot on the roster on Opening Night.
What could put Butcher in the Calder Trophy conversation is his points as a defenseman. He was given a majority of the time manning the point for the top powerplay line. Awards voters love defensemen who score points. Since Paul Coffey in 1985, only one defenseman won the Norris Trophy with under 50 points scored (P.K. Subban in 2013). Points get results at the NHL Awards.
Butcher is a good player, and could make a jump this season. The Hobey Baker winner may look to add some more hardware to his shelf early in his NHL career.