The 24 year old Nieto is in his fourth NHL season, all with the Sharks before today. After being a regular for most of the last three years, he has found himself in a reserve role much more frequently this season, seeing action in just 16 games, recording just two assists in that time.
Coming into this season though, Nieto had been a decent bottom six contributor, scoring 28 goals while adding 40 assists in 205 games while averaging over 14 minutes a night in ice time. He has a cap hit of $735K this year and will be a restricted free agent at the end of the season with salary arbitration rights.
With Colorado being at the bottom of the NHL standings, they had top waiver priority to add Nieto to their roster. Sportsnet’s Chris Johnston suggests (Twitter link) that other teams also submitted a claim though there’s no word on who those other teams were. Nieto will likely push for a bottom six role in Denver, battling with the likes of Cody McLeod and Andreas Martinsen for ice time.
As for the other player waived on Wednesday, Boston goaltender Anton Khudobin went unclaimed, notes The Athletic’s James Mirtle on Twitter. The Bruins have not yet assigned him to their farm team and may not do so until youngster Zane MacIntyre is set to get a start. That way, MacIntyre can play regularly at the AHL level instead of sitting most nights on the bench as Tuukka Rask’s backup.
TVA Sports’ Renaud Lavoie was first to report Nieto’s claim (Twitter link).