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Will Butcher expected to file for arbitration

July 5, 2019, 12:35 PM ET [23 Comments]
Todd Cordell
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The New Jersey Devils have three NHL players – defensemen Will Butcher, Mirco Mueller, and Connor Carrick – eligible to file for arbitration in advance of today's 5 p.m. deadline.

Barring anything unforeseen happening prior, at least one of them will go down that path; though I wouldn't be surprised if it is more.

I'm told Butcher, who is open to both short and long-term deals, and the Devils are not very far along on either. That's not to say contract talks haven't been going well. They just haven't really gotten off the ground.

Butcher's camp can put a clock on it, so to speak, by filing for arbitration today and the expectation is they'll do just that.

Butcher's point totals dipped from 44 as a rookie to 30 as a sophomore. A big reason for that is power play production, which in part evaporated due to a lack of healthy talent around him, but his case would certainly be much stronger if the order of those seasons were flipped.

If we include Carrick, who was acquired at the deadline, four defenders (Damon Severson, Sami Vatanan, and Andy Greene being the others) averaged more time on ice per game than Butcher so heavy usage is not something that can be sold if a hearing eventually takes place.

I expect the two sides will ultimately get something done prior to that happening – much like we saw with Blake Coleman, who is also represented by Brian Bartlett, just a year ago.

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