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Devils ink coveted college D Butcher

(Photo by Robin Alam/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

(TSX / STATS) -- The New Jersey Devils agreed to terms with 2017 Hobey Baker Award recipient Will Butcher on a two-year, entry-level contract, the team announced Sunday.

Butcher, a defenseman, will receive an average annual salary of $925,000.

The 22-year-old was selected by the Colorado Avalanche in the fifth round of the 2013 draft, but elected not to sign with the club and became an unrestricted free agent on Aug. 16. A college player has four years to sign with the team that drafts him before he can become an unrestricted free agent on Aug. 16 of that fourth year.

A number of other teams had been reported to be in the mix to land Butcher, including the Los Angeles Kings, Vegas Golden Knights, Buffalo Sabres and Pittsburgh Penguins.

Butcher spent four seasons with the University of Denver and served as team captain in 2016-17, helping the Pioneers win the NCAA national championship. He collected seven goals and 30 assists in 43 games last season.

Butcher became the second Pioneer in the school's history to win the Hobey Baker Award as college hockey's top player. Matt Carle was the first in 2006.

Updated August 27, 2017

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