The Colorado Avalanche have once again used the waiver system to bolster their roster, this time claiming forward Matt Nieto from the San Jose Sharks. The 24-year-old forward from Long Beach, California was in the middle of a tough season with a loaded Sharks forward corps and was simply the victim of a numbers game after posting just two assists in his 16 games played. The Avalanche have made frequent use of the waiver system in recent years so it’s not a huge surprise to see them use their priority at the top on a player who very likely would have been claimed by someone else had the Avalanche passed.
Nieto is obviously not going to change the fortunes of the Avalanche on his own but he fits the profile of what they’re looking for as he’s a speedy winger who can get up and down the ice quickly and can chip in points here and there. He’s scored 28 goals across the last three seasons so the Avs aren’t getting a game-breaker here but given how current depth forwards Cody McLeod, Andreas Martinsen, John Mitchell, and Joe Colborne have combined to score just three goals after opening night, clearly an injection of life into this moribund group was needed.
A second round selection by the Sharks in the 2011 NHL Draft, Nieto had a prolific career at Boston University before jumping to professional hockey in 2013. Nieto has tallied 70 points (28 g, 42 a) in 221 NHL games thus far in his career. He’s currently on a one-year deal worth $735K and will be a restricted free agent at the end of the season.
The addition of Nieto also meant the Avalanche were required to make a subsequent roster move and they did. Goaltender Jeremy Smith was sent back down to the San Antonio Rampage to reduce the roster back down to 23.