The Colorado Avalanche did not have the defense to their 2022 Stanley Cup victory that they were likely hoping for, as they ended up crashing out of the 2023 Stanley Cup Playoffs in their first round series with the Seattle Kraken. As a result, the Avs have been very busy to start the offseason, and that continued on Wednesday morning ahead of the 2023 NHL Draft.
The Avalanche have been busy making trades to start the offseason, and added another to the ledger with the draft on the horizon. Colorado opted to send a second round pick to the Tampa Bay Lightning, which ended up being the 37th overall selection, in exchange for Ross Colton, who had emerged as a key depth piece on offense for Tampa.
Via Frank Seravalli:
“Full trade, per sources:
To Avalanche: Rights to RFA Ross Colton
To Lightning: 2023 2nd Rd Pick (No. 37 overall).”
After helping the Lightning win the 2021 Stanley Cup, Colton cemented his spot in Tampa's starting lineup, missing only three total games over the past two seasons. Colton's numbers weren't exactly gaudy, but he managed to score 22 goals during the 2021-22 season before regressing a bit this past season, in which he racked up just 16 goals and 16 assists over 81 games of action.
The Avalanche definitely need some help up the middle at their center spot, so trading for Colton makes a lot of sense in that regard. Colton has definitely shown some potential to be an impact player, but realistically speaking, he will only be asked to be a third or fourth line center for Colorado. This is another good bit of business for the Avs, though, and it will be worth watching them to see what their next move ends up being.