Colorado Avalanche: Pre-Coronavirus Player Look at Matt Nieto

Colorado Avalanche forward Matt Nieto may not be a high scorer, but he’s proven himself to be a valuable addition to the team.

Colorado Avalanche players are settling into their hockey hiatus routines, many of them having returned to their home towns. They’ll be allowed to stay there until at least the end of the week, though it’s likely to be longer.

The NHL season is on pause in response to COVID 19 pandemic. However, coverage of the team here on Mile High Sticking won’t be on pause.

We’ve already evaluated five players:

Next up is Long Beach Native Matthew Nieto.

Brief History of Matt Nieto

The most famous part of Matt Nieto’s history is that he’s a Long Beach native. He grew up in the barrio playing roller hockey. He showed enough talent that by the age of 12 he was playing in international hockey tournaments.

The San Jose Sharks drafted Nieto 47th overall in 2011. He signed his entry-level contract with them two years later. He bounced around between the AHL and NHL for a couple years before making the NHL club full time in 2014.

Nieto spent just over two years playing full time for the Sharks. On January 5, 2017, they placed him on waivers, and the Colorado Avalanche claimed him. He signed a one-year contract with Colorado that summer and a two-year contract the following summer. He’s in the final year of that contract.

Matt Nieto Stats with the Colorado Avalanche

The 27-year-old Neito has played 472 NHL games. More than half of those games have been with the Avalanche — 251.

In his NHL career, Nieto has recorded 62 goals and 89 assists for 151 points. With Colorado, he’s earned 34 goals and 47 assists for 81 points.

This season, Nieto is one of only two players who’s played in all 70 games for the Avs. (The other is Sam Girard.) He has 8 goals and 13 assists on the season.

Evaluation of Matt Nieto with the Avalanche

Matt Nieto is the epitome of a player who didn’t fit with another team but is making good with Colorado. He’s been able to fill in wherever is necessary during the Avalanche’s injury-plagued season.

Nieto is a solid defensive forward. He sees time on the penalty kill, and you can always count on him to play well in his own zone.

Next: Nieto's Impossible Goal

As I noted, Nieto is in the final year of his contract. Will the Colorado Avalanche retain him? I’d like to think so. His contract is cheap, and he’s just been a solid player for the team.

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