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Colorado Avalanche to move on from Wilson, Connauton

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Vladislav Namestnikov and Matt Nieto in contract talks, but likely to test market

Anaheim Ducks v Colorado Avalanche Photo by Michael Martin/NHLI via Getty Images

The Colorado Avalanche are set to move on from forward Colin Wilson, and defenseman Kevin Connauton in Free Agency next week, per Ryan S. Clark of The Athletic.

The two players are set to become UFA’s on the open market, with free agency set to open on October 9th.

Wilson, 30, spent the last three seasons in Colorado after being traded by the Nashville Predators in the summer of 2017. The American-born winger got into 148 games in his time in Colorado, scoring 22 goals, and tallying 57 points, including playoffs. He only got into 9 games this past season, before having his season ended by injury. He notched 4 assists in those games. His expiring contract carries a $2.6 million cap hit.

Connauton, 30, spent one season in Colorado after being traded by the Arizona Coyotes in the Carl Soderberg trade last summer. He was primarily a depth defenseman, spending most of his time this past season in Loveland with the Colorado Eagles, and only getting into 4 regular season games where he went scoreless. He stepped in for an additional 4 playoff games in the 2nd Round series against the Dallas Stars, where he tallied a lone assist. His expiring contract carries a $1.375 million cap hit.

Additionally, Clark reported that the Avalanche have engaged in contract talks for pending UFA forwards Vladislav Namestnikov and Matt Nieto, though it’s believed they will test the open market as well.

Namestnikov, 27, joined the Avs at the 2020 Trade Deadline, after the Ottawa Senators sold him off for a 4th Round pick in 2021. The Russian-born forward played really well after the trade, tallying 6 points in 9 games before the pause. He would carry his strong performance into the playoffs, scoring 4 goals, and notching 5 points in 12 playoff games. Playing for three teams this past season, (New York Rangers, Ottawa Senators, Colorado Avalanche), his regular season totals equal out to 17 goals, 14 assists, and 31 points in 63 games. Namestnikov will look to cash in next week, with his rumored asking price being above $4 million AAV.

Nieto, 27, joined the Avalanche after being claimed off waivers from the San Jose Sharks in January of 2017. In his time in Colorado he has scored 39 goals, and tallied 94 points in 283 total games, including playoffs. This past season, the Long Beach, California native scored 8 goals, and had 21 points, in a full 70 game season. He shines brightest on the Penalty Kill, and talks will determine whether or not the Avs have a replacement to find on that front.