Colorado Avalanche defenseman Josh Manson lifts the Stanley Cup during a rally outside the City/County Building for the NHL hockey champions after a parade through the streets of downtown Denver, Thursday, June 30, 2022. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)

The Stanley Cup champion Colorado Avalanche have re-signed defenseman Josh Manson to an $18 million, four-year contract.

The team announced the deal Wednesday before Manson could hit free agency.

Acquiring Manson at the trade deadline was one of several moves that helped Colorado win the Stanley Cup for the first time since 2001. The 2023 second-round draft pick and defense prospect Drew Helleson was a small price to pay for the big defender who provided some toughness for the high-scoring, skilled Avalanche.

Manson, who turns 31 before opening night, dished out several big hits during the Avalanche’s championship run that culminated with beating the Tampa Bay Lightning in the final. He had eight points in 20 games.

This move comes after Colorado re-signed Valeri Nichushkin to a $49 million, eight-year deal and likely spells the end of Nazem Kadri’s time in Denver. Kadri is expected to cash in as an unrestricted free agent.

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