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Avalanche sign forward Ross Colton, avoid arbitration


DENVER (AP) — The Colorado Avalanche have avoided arbitration with forward Ross Colton, signing him to a four-year contract.

The deal is worth $16 million with a $4 million annual salary-cap hit, according to a person with knowledge of the move. The person spoke Monday to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because the team doesn’t disclose contract terms.

Colorado acquired Colton from cap-strapped Tampa Bay prior to the NHL draft for the 37th pick. Colton was a restricted free agent whose arbitration rights could have hurt the Lightning, making him their top trade candidate.

Colton, now 26, scored the Stanley Cup-clinching goal for Tampa Bay in 2021. He was also with the Lightning the following year when they lost to the Avalanche in the final.

“Ross is a hard-working, two-way center with a championship pedigree,” Avalanche general manager Chris MacFarland said at the time of the trade. “He has physicality to his game, is ultra-competitive and his versatility will make him a valuable addition to our lineup in a lot of ways.”

The Robbinsville, New Jersey, native has 83 points in 190 NHL regular-season games with Tampa Bay.


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