The Colorado Avalanche have signed restricted free agent Ross Colton to a four-year contract extension, the club announced Monday afternoon.
Colton, 26, had 32 points (16 goals, 16 assists) in 81 games for the Tampa Bay Lightning during the 2022-23 regular season. He added one goal and four points in six games in the 2023 Stanley Cup Playoffs.
The Avalanche acquired Colton from the Lightning on June 27 in exchange for a second-round pick (37 overall) in the 2023 NHL Draft.
Colton’s new contract with the Avalanche runs through the end of the 2026-27 season, buying three years of UFA, and carries an average annual value of $4 million.
« Ross is a hard-working, two-way center with championship pedigree, » Avalanche general manager Chris MacFarland said when his team acquired Colton. « He has physicality in his game, is ultra competitive and his versatility will make him a valuable addition to our roster in many ways. »
The Lightning originally selected Colton in the fourth round (118th overall) of the 2016 NHL Draft. The six-foot center, who shoots on the left, spent his first two seasons post-draft at the University of Vermont before turning pro in 2018.
Colton made his NHL debut with the Lightning in the 2020-21 regular season, recording nine goals and 12 points in 30 games. He then appeared in all 23 games of the 2021 Stanley Cup Playoffs to help the Lightning win their third championship (and second in as many years).
The following year, Colton fully emerged as a full-time NHL player with the Lightning and scored 22 goals and 39 points in 79 games. He dressed for 23 more playoff games in 2022 as the Lightning returned to the Stanley Cup Finals, only to be defeated in six games by the Avalanche.
In 190 career NHL games over three seasons with the Lightning, Colton had 47 goals and 83 points. He added 10 goals and 19 points in 52 career playoff games.