The Colorado Avalanche acquired forward Ross Colton in a trade with the Tampa Bay Lightning on Wednesday, hours before the start of the NHL draft.
Colorado sent the 37th pick in the draft to Tampa Bay for the player who scored the Lightning’s Stanley Cup-clinching goal in 2021.
The move almost certainly spells the end of J.T. Compher’s time with the Avalanche. A person with knowledge of the situation told The Associated Press that Compher is testing the free agent market.
The person spoke to the AP on condition of anonymity because the team did not announce Compher’s expected departure.
Colton would fill that void as Colorado’s latest acquisition. The team traded for center Ryan Johansen, getting him at half price in a deal with Nashville, and sent pending restricted free agent Alex Newhook to Montreal.
The 37th pick going from the Avalanche to the Lightning was part of the return for Newhook.
Colton, who turns 27 before next season starts, also is a pending restricted free agent. He’s expected to get a raise from the $1.25 million he made last season.
He has 102 points in 240 regular-season and playoff NHL games.
The Avalanche are trying to rebuild, knowing captain Gabriel Landeskog will miss a second consecutive season while recovering from cartilage replacement surgery in his right knee. They’re able to put him on long-term injured reserve and use the $7 million in cap space.