NHL Rumors: Thomas Vanek, Drew Stafford and Will Butcher

TSN: Veteran forwards Thomas Vanek and Drew Stafford are still looking for a contract for next season. Their agent Steve Bartlett said that interest in both has picked up lately and new deals could be coming soon.

”I do feel optimistic that something will come through for both of these guys in the next week or two,” Bartlett told Buffalo’s WGR 550. “And I think definitely the temperature has risen from teams around the league on both players.”

Reports from the Detroit Free Press earlier this offseason had the Red Wings staying in touch with Vanek, but their cap situation makes that unlikely.

Reports have the Boston Bruins remaining in contact with Stafford, but he might have to sign a PTO somewhere.

On Will Butcher …

Mike Chambers of the Denver Post: Free agent defenseman Will Butcher will decide on who he will sign with by Sunday.

Butcher had been skating at the University of Denver’s pro camp, but won’t be [today] as he could be visiting with another team.

As many as ten teams showed interest including the Pittsburgh Penguins, Buffalo Sabres, New Jersey Devils and Vegas Golden Knights.

Mike Morreale of NHL.com: Butcher in an email.

“I will be making my decision on Sunday with my family and my agent there with me,” Butcher said in an email to NHL.com on Thursday.

Butcher’s agent Brian Bartlett said four teams are in the mix including the Sabres and Golden Knights and is expected to visit with two more teams this week.

“He’s in Denver now at the pro camp taking place at the University of Denver, so he hasn’t been with his family to sit down and talk about things,” Bartlett said. “The hope is we’ll sit down once he gets home and make a decision by Sunday because NHL rookie tournaments and camps are coming up pretty quick.”

Bartlett added that they are looking for a team that really believes in him and one that can offer him the best chance for long-term success. They haven’t been demanding that he make NHL right away.

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