24-year-old defenseman Keaton Middleton signed a one-year contract with the Colorado Avalanche today, per the team. PuckPedia reports the contract is a two-way deal paying him $750K in the NHL and $100K in the minors.
Middleton was originally drafted 101st overall in the 2016 NHL Draft by the Toronto Maple Leafs, but the team elected to not sign him to an entry-level contract within two seasons, relinquishing his exclusive rights. After his junior career ended, Middleton played the 2018-19 and 2019-20 seasons on an AHL contract with the San Jose Barracuda alongside his older brother, Jacob Middleton.
After starting the 2020-21 season on an AHL contract with the Colorado Eagles, the younger Middleton finally received an NHL entry-level contract from the Avalanche in the middle of the season. With the deal expiring this offseason, the Avalanche issued Middleton a qualifying offer, keeping him within the organization.
Middleton did slot into three NHL games in 2020-21 after signing his deal, but he failed to register a point in those contests. He’s destined to head back to the Eagles this fall for a third straight season after the physical defenseman had 76 penalty minutes, two goals, and nine assists for 11 points in 49 games there in 2021-22.
CapFriendly was the first to report Middleton had signed a one-year deal to remain in Colorado.