Avalanche forward named top trade candidate

Last offseason, the Colorado Avalanche acquired Ross Colton from the Tampa Bay Lightning in exchange for the 37th overall pick of the 2023 NHL Entry Draft. The Lightning selected Ethan Gauthier with the pick.

Colton's first season with the Avalanche proved to be successful for the 27-year-old forward. In 80 regular-season games, he posted 17 goals and a career-high 40 points. In addition, he made an impact with his physicality, recording 141 hits.

avalanche forward named top trade candidate

Ross Colton Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports

Yet, one year after being traded to Colorado, Colton is starting to create some buzz as a trade candidate. In his latest Trade Targets Board for Daily Faceoff, NHL insider Frank Seravalli spotlighted Colton as one of the NHL's top trade candidates for this offseason.

Here's what Seravalli said on the matter:

"It's just that Colorado has so many hurdles to clear on the cap this summer that Colton may be the odd man out. They have to clear space for Gabriel Landeskog to be activated at some point next season. They aren’t sure about the status of Valeri Nichushkin, who is in Stage 3 of the Player Assistance program after a drug-related issue during the playoffs for the second year in a row. And they’ve also prioritized the re-signing of Jonathan Drouin. The arrival of Casey Mittelstadt at center, who also needs a new deal, makes it easier to move Colton."

avalanche forward named top trade candidate

Ross Colton Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports

Colton carries a $4 million cap hit until the end of the 2026-27 campaign, so the Avalanche would create a nice amount of financial flexibility if they moved him. However, once July 1 is here, Colton's full no-trade clause begins. Thus, now would be the time for the Avalanche to move him if they hope to.

Ultimately, this is something to pay attention to over the next week and a half. There are certainly some risks in moving Colton, but time will tell if the Avalanche's tight cap situation leads them to make the tough decision from here. If made available, he would be a hot commodity, as he provides solid secondary scoring and plenty of bite in the 3C role.

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