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Hobey Baker Winner Signs with New Jersey Devils

Will Butcher Signs With the New Jersey Devils
Will Butcher (Associated Press)

The New Jersey Devils have landed college hockey’s top player by agreeing to sign defenseman Will Butcher to a two-year, $1.85 million contract.

The agreement announced by the Devils on Sunday comes about two weeks after the University of Denver player became a free agent by turning down an opportunity to sign with the Colorado Avalanche before a deadline passed on Aug. 15. The Avalanche selected Butcher in the fifth round of the 2013 draft.

Butcher received the maximum entry-level salary allowed under NHL rules. A person with direct knowledge of the contract details told The Associated Press that Baker can also make an additional $850,000 in annual bonuses, which is also the maximum for rookie deals.

The person spoke the AP on the condition of anonymity because the Devils did not reveal that.

In choosing the Devils, the Hobey Baker winner joins a team rebuilding through youth after selecting Nico Hischier with the No. 1 pick in the draft.

The 22-year-old from Sun Prairie, Wisconsin, capped his senior season by leading Denver to the national championship in April. He had seven goals and a team-high 30 assists in 43 games in becoming just the seventh defenseman to win college hockey’s top honor.

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