The Tampa Bay Lightning are always in need of some cost-effective depth options and Ross Colton could be one of the next in line. CapFriendly reports that the restricted free agent forward has agreed to terms on a one-year, two-way extension with Tampa Bay. Colton will be as affordable as it gets at the NHL level, making the minimum $700K, while collecting $100K in the AHL.
Colton, 24, was initially drafted by the Lightning in the fourth round in 2016. He spent the next two seasons at the University of Vermont, but left early to turn pro. Over the past two years with the AHL’s Syracuse Crunch, Colton has shown substantial improvement, jumping from 31 points in 66 games to 42 points in 62 games this past season. Colton finished second in scoring for the Crunch in 2019-20, while also boosting his physicality to lead all forwards in penalty minutes.
A player who could step in as a solid fourth line option for the Bolts, Colton also has the advantage of a cheap contract. The Lightning still have many moves to make to clear out salary this off-season in order to re-sign their big-name restricted free agents – Anthony Cirelli, Mikhail Sergachev, and Erik Cernak – but they are going to be right up against the salary cap one way or another. Colton is one of just two forwards making the minimum $700K salary next season for Tampa Bay, which should boost his chances at NHL opportunities.