Why the Colorado Avalanche shouldn’t trade Ross Colton

Here is why the Colorado Avalanche should not trade Ross Colton.
Dallas Stars v Colorado Avalanche - Game Three
Dallas Stars v Colorado Avalanche - Game Three / Matthew Stockman/GettyImages

Rumors continue to float around about the Colorado Avalanche trading away Ross Colton to free up cap space. Colton, who signed a four-year contract, had 17 goals and 23 assists in 80 games last season. Colton signed his four-year deal and avoided arbitration.

Obviously, the two sides want to stick together. That’s why they put that deal together. The AAV of the deal is $4 million. Colton finished the 2023-24 season with a 51.6 faceoff percentage. That was fifth on the team when considering a high number of attempts (for instance, Kurtis MacDermid and Brandon Duhaime finished with a 100 percent faceoff statline but they took a combined three faceoffs). Ben Meyers was 9-of-13.

The Avalanche had a very reliable line with Colton, Miles Wood, and Logan O’Connor. Of course, we had to miss out on O’Connor for a good portion of the season because of his season-ending injury, but he’ll be back next year.

Personally, I don’t think that the Avalanche should break up this line. The fact that the Colton line earned itself a nickname is definitely something to keep in mind: You don’t earn a nickname for a hockey line unless you are good.

If the Colorado Avalanche hold onto Colton, yes it would continue to have an effect on the salary cap issues the team is having. But, who are you going to bring in? I’m not sure it would be the smartest to bring in rental players. This team has built a strong chemistry with each other.

Of course, the elephant in the room is the Valeri Nichushkin situation and I’m sure that the team has a plan and has been in contact with Nichushkin’s camp and whoever else is involved while he’s serving his suspension. It is certainly a tricky thing to game plan around.

In an ideal world, Nichushkin is back in November like expected and Gabriel Landeskog returns sometime this season. But if one or both of those things don’t end up happening, maybe the Colorado Avalanche can find diamonds in the rough to make it through this year.

Another ideal scenario is the team hitting on their first-round draft pick. That would take a lot of heat off of this team, as they could certainly use a forward even on a lower line. Perhaps they draft a player who they feel could play a huge role on the left side of the ice and ultimately let Jonathan Drouin hit free agency.

A lot will be unpacked in the coming days, as NHL free agency begins on July 1st.