2010-11: Will Butcher skated for the Madison Capitols midget major team in Wisconsin. He scored 10 goals with 20 assists in 34 games and had 2 penalty minutes.
2011-12: Butcher joined the USA National Team Development Program in Ann Arbor, MI — skating for the NTDP’s U17 and U18 teams. He represented the USA in four international tournaments, winning gold medals with the U18 team at the 2012 World Junior Championship and with the U!7 squad at the 2011 Four Nations (Russia) and 2012 Vlad Dzurilla U18 tournaments and skating on the second-place USA squad at the 2012 World Hockey Challenge in Canada. Butcher had 2 assists and 2 penalty minutes in 10 regular season games with the U18 team and was scoreless with an even plus/minus at the U18 WJC. He scored 8 goals with 23 assists and had 8 penalty minutes in 46 games for the U17 squad and had 6 assists in five games at the World Hockey Challenge. In September 2011 he committed to playing college hockey at Denver in 2013-14.
2012-13: Butcher returned to Ann Arbor for his second season in the NDTP program; winning a silver medal at the 2013 U18 World Junior Championship in Sochi, Russia. He was the leading scorer amongst defensemen for the U18 team, finishing with 11 goals and 26 assists in 67 games and had 8 penalty minutes. In seven games at the WJC he scored 2 goals with 2 assists and was +2 with 2 penalty minutes. Butcher, rated 170th amongst North American skaters in Central Scouting’s mid-term rankings, was ranked 87th in the final rankings and selected by Colorado in the fifth round (123rd overall) of the 2013 NHL Draft.
2013-14: Butcher skated in 38 of 42 games for the University of Denver as a freshman — joining the USA U20 team for the 2014 World Juniors in mid-season. Playing on an offensively-inclined blue line with the Pioneers, he scored 8 goals with 8 assists and was minus-3 with 8 penalty minutes. Denver finished sixth in the eight-team National College Hockey Conference but won four straight games to win the conference playoff title in the league’s first season The Pioneers topped last-place Miami, 4-3, in the title game before falling to defending national champion Boston College, 6-2, in the NCAA Northeast Regional semifinals. Butcher scored 2 goals with 3 assists and was an even plus/minus with 2 penalty minutes in five games for the USA — which finished fifth after losing to Russia in the quarterfinals.
Butcher is a smart two-way defenseman. He has the ability to play the point on the powerplay and kill penalties but his talents lie in the offensive zone. While offensive play is his strength he is a responsible defender. For a player of his size and stature he plays a much bigger game.
Butcher is in his sophomore season at the University of Denver in 2014-15. Denver has been one of the top teams in college hockey to start the season and Butcher and Edmonton prospect Joey Laleggia have effectively provided playmaking from the blue line for the Pioneers. He attended the USA Hockey Evaluation Camp in Lake Placid in August and is expected to once again represent the USA at the World Juniors this year. Butcher is progressing quite nicely and should continue to be a staple of the Pioneers' defensive corps. At the professional level he projects as an effective two-way defenseman and power play quarterback. He will have to add strength and bulk over the next few seasons to reach that level.