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REPORT: Insider Reveals Avalanche Center Might Be On Trade Block

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Avalanche Ross Colton

It seemed like the Colorado Avalanche had finally found a good mix down the middle moving forward after the NHL Trade Deadline. With Nathan MacKinnon, Casey Mittelstadt, and Ross Colton, Colorado looked set for the immediate future at the center position.

There’s apparently a chance we’ve already seen the end of that trio on the Avalanche.

Everyone knows Colorado is headed towards a bit of a cap crunch this summer, and with the situations surrounding Valeri Nichushkin and Gabriel Landeskog, there’s a lot of uncertainty on what will happen when the regular season gets started. That means someone might be headed out the door to save money. We discussed the possibility of Josh Manson last week, but an NHL insider is claiming Ross Colton might be the odd man out.

According to Frank Seravalli of Daily Faceoff, Colorado might move Colton to gain some cap flexibility moving forward. The insider placed the center 8th on his Trade Target list. Colton has three years remaining on the contract he signed last summer and carries a cap hit of $4 million each season. If a deal is to be made, it would likely happen before July 1, because Colton’s no-trade clause kicks in on that day.

The Avalanche acquired the 27 year old last summer from the Tampa Bay Lightning right before the draft in exchange for a second round pick. Tampa Bay had to trade Colton because they couldn’t afford him, so it would be a tough break for the New Jersey native to have that happen for the second summer in a row.

Playing center full-time in the NHL for the first time, Colton put up the best offensive numbers of his career, scoring 40 points in 80 games. He also just so happens to be Colorado’s best face-off guy, as he won 51.6% of the draws he took. Both MacKinnon and Mittelstadt finished well below 50% on the draw.

Money is tight for the Avalanche, and Mittelstadt is set to get a pretty big raise this summer. Colorado is also looking to bring back Jonathan Drouin after his breakout season. A $4 million third line center might just be too much for them to handle for someone who doesn’t kill penalties. They’d have to replace him either through free agency or trade, as the fourth center on the depth chart is currently Chris Wagner, and replacing Colton would be easier said than done.

We’ll keep a close eye on this development in the coming days, but remember, a move isn’t guaranteed to happen. Business will really pick up over the next two weeks, and Colorado Hockey Now will bring you all the Avalanche news as it comes in.

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