The New Jersey Devils had a very exciting day on Wednesday. They were clearly the front runners to land free agent defenseman Dougie Hamilton. One source claimed early in the signing period that the Devils were going to get it done. It was clear that they were working towards it but it took a minute to be announced. Later in the afternoon, the biggest NHL insiders started to confirm it and every Devils fan let out a breath of fresh air.
It is going to be very fun seeing a defenseman this talented come to the New Jersey Devils. He is going to be the leader of what should be a very good group on the blue line. With players like Ryan Graves, Damon Severson, Ty Smith, and P.K. Subban in the mix, Dougie’s addition should be really solid. We also can’t forget that Luke Hughes is on the way as well.
One player that was clearly the odd man out was Will Butcher. He had a good start to his NHL career but things fell off after a while. It didn’t look like he was part of the plans even before the Hamilton signing and this confirmed it. Well, not long after the insiders started to confirm the Hamilton signing, the Devils made an interesting trade.
The New Jersey Devils traded Will Butcher and a 2022 5th round pick to the Buffalo Sabres in exchange for future considerations. New Jersey basically gave away a 5th round pick to clear Butcher’s roster spot which is very interesting. It makes perfect sense and the timing was perfect. Now, with Dougie in the fold, they can use that extra roster spot for a forward.
The New Jersey Devils are really trying to move their franchise forward starting now.
Will Butcher has a chance to be an NHL player with the Buffalo Sabres. He is going to get much more opportunity going forward with them than he would have with the Devils. Some people might be confused about the Devils getting nothing for Butcher. It is okay. They don’t need anything other than his money off the books and that extra roster spot. The Devils are retaining one million dollars of his salary but that won’t hurt them much as they are still under the cap floor.
Will Butcher’s time in New Jersey was fun but it is time to move forward. They needed an upgrade like Hamilton and now they have a chance to be a really interesting team in 2021-22. Hopefully, this all works out for both sides.