"You can't hide anything these days...."
— Mike Chambers (@MikeChambers) August 19, 2017
That's what Buffalo Sabres general manager Jason Botterill said with a smirk when asked about Will Butcher walking through the Denver Airport with a Sabres bag on Saturday.
"We certainly have interest but there's certainly a lot of interest throughout the league," Botterill told reporters in Rochester on Tuesday. "It's a scenario where he's going through the process right now to make a decision and we're excited that we at least are part of the equation, so we'll see what happens in the next week or so."
— Matthew Bové (@Matt_Bove) August 23, 2017
According to multiple reports, Butcher has narrowed down his list of potential landing spots to three teams: New Jersey, Las Vegas, and Buffalo. Butcher's agent, Brian Bartlett, denied those reports on Wednesday but said that his client has narrowed things down and the Sabres are "still very much under consideration."
When asked about a potential timetable for a decision Bartlett added: "Not sure, whenever he's [Butcher] comfortable."
Butcher was drafted by the Colorado Avalanche in the fifth round of the 2013 draft. During his four-year career with the University of Denver, Butcher saw his numbers steadily increase, finishing with 103 points in 158 games.
As a senior, Butcher helped lead the Pioneers to the programs eighth National Championship in April. Butcher could bypass signing with the Avalanche because of a rule in the NHL Collective Bargaining Agreement that allows a player to become a UFA four years after being drafted.