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Penguins 'will be in that mix' for Butcher: report

Free agent defenseman talks to five teams; Kerfoot meets with Canucks

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The Pittsburgh Penguins have interest in defenseman Will Butcher, who became a free agent Wednesday and has talked to five NHL teams.

"A player like that's going to have several teams in that same category," Penguins general manager Jim Rutherford told the Post-Gazette on Wednesday. "We will be in that mix with other teams."

Butcher's agent, Brian Bartlett, told The Associated Press that the 22-year-old talked to five teams Wednesday and is scheduled to speak with more in the next couple of days.

The AP reported the Buffalo Sabres, New Jersey Devils and Vegas Golden Knights were among the teams to meet with Butcher, though Bartlett did not confirm that.

Bartlett told the Tampa Bay Times that Butcher could sign in the next week or so and he would be open to starting his professional career in the American Hockey League.

"What ends up winning the day, I'm not sure," Bartlett told the newspaper. "But we have not told teams that if you don't have an NHL spot for him in training camp, don't bother even calling. It's quite the opposite."

Butcher, who was selected by the Avalanche in the fifth round (No. 123) of the 2013 NHL Draft, won the Hobey Baker Award as the top player in NCAA Division I men's hockey last season. He had 37 points (seven goals, 30 assists) in 43 games for the University of Denver, which won the NCAA championship.

A college player has four years to sign with the NHL team that drafts him before he can become an unrestricted free agent on Aug. 16 of that last year. He is eligible to sign a two-year, entry-level contract worth $925,000 a season, plus bonuses that can go as high as $2.85 million per season, according to CapFriendly.com.

Forward Alexander Kerfoot, who also became a free agent Wednesday, had a productive and informative meeting with the Vancouver Canucks, agent J.P. Barry told News 1130 Sports on Thursday.

Kerfoot, 23, was a Hobey Baker finalist after scoring 45 points (16 goals, 29 assists) in 36 games as captain of Harvard University last season. He was selected by the Devils in the fifth round (No. 150) of the 2012 NHL Draft.

Kerfoot grew up in British Columbia and played for the Coquitlam Express of the British Columbia Hockey League from 2011-13.

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