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Butcher an NHL free agent after not signing with Avalanche 

By: JOHN WAWROW, AP Hockey Writer
August 16, 2017 Updated: August 16, 2017 at 9:12 am
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Denver defenseman Will Butcher fights off Colorado College left wing Mason Bergh as he skates behind the Denver goal on Dec. 2, 2016, at the Broadmoor World Arena in Colorado Springs, Colo. (The Gazette, Christian Murdock)

College hockey's top player is an NHL free agent after former University of Denver defenseman Will Butcher allowed a deadline to pass without signing with the Colorado Avalanche.

The Avalanche selected Butcher in the fifth round of the 2013 draft and had until Tuesday to sign the Hobey Baker Award winner who led Denver to a national championship in April.

A person with direct knowledge of the discussions told The Associated Press on Wednesday that Butcher already has had discussions with the Buffalo Sabres, New Jersey Devils and NHL-expansion Vegas Golden Knights. The person said Butcher has not yet narrowed his list, and is also talking with other teams.

The person spoke to the AP on the condition of anonymity because the talks are private.

The Denver Post first reported the three specific teams expressing interest in Butcher.

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