FILE - Former Tampa Bay Lightning player Ross Colton (79) skates with the puck during the first period of an NHL hockey game against the New York Islanders, April 6, 2023, in Elmont, N.Y. The Colorado Avalanche traded for Colton and have agreed to a four-year contract with him. (AP Photo/Frank Franklin II, File)

DENVER | The Colorado Avalanche have avoided arbitration with forward Ross Colton, signing him to a four-year contract.

The deal is worth $16 million with a $4 million annual salary-cap hit, according to a person with knowledge of the move. The person spoke Monday to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because the team doesn’t disclose contract terms.

Colorado acquired Colton from cap-strapped Tampa Bay prior to the NHL draft for the 37th pick. Colton was a restricted free agent whose arbitration rights could have hurt the Lightning, making him their top trade candidate.

Colton, now 26, scored the Stanley Cup-clinching goal for Tampa Bay in 2021. He was also with the Lightning the following year when they lost to the Avalanche in the final.

“Ross is a hard-working, two-way center with a championship pedigree,” Avalanche general manager Chris MacFarland said at the time of the trade. “He has physicality to his game, is ultra-competitive and his versatility will make him a valuable addition to our lineup in a lot of ways.”

The Robbinsville, New Jersey, native has 83 points in 190 NHL regular-season games with Tampa Bay.

AP Hockey Writer Stephen Whyno contributed to this report

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