Another player has avoided arbitration, as according to Elliotte Friedman of Sportsnet Matt Nieto has signed a one-year deal with the Colorado Avalanche for $1MM next season. Neito had an arbitration hearing scheduled for July 31st, but won’t need it any longer after reaching an agreement.
Nieto, 24, came to the Avalanche via waivers this season when they selected him from the San Jose Sharks in early January. Thrust into an increased role in Colorado, Nieto responded with 11 points in 43 games but was a rather effective penalty killer and depth winger. Though he hasn’t been able to replicate his 27-point 2014-15 season, he’s still a positive possession player and young enough to improve next season for the Avalanche.
Playing last year for just $735K, Nieto will get a nice raise before looking longer-term next summer. At that point he will be 25, arbitration eligible for the second time and just two years away from unrestricted free agency. Though he’s not a player you’d want to commit to for more than a few seasons at a time, he does still have that potential that made him a second-round pick and allowed him to dominate the college ranks for Boston University. Nieto recorded 102 points in his three-year career with BU, even though he debuted as a 17-year old playing against men much older than him.