The Colorado Avalanche and San Jose Sharks completed a trade involving four players on Wednesday, including forward Matt Nieto, who is returning to Denver.
Two former first-round picks from the 2018 draft also changed addresses. Defender Ryan Merkley (21st) was acquired by the “Avs”, while striker Martin Kaut (16th) took the opposite route. Fullback Jacob MacDonald has also joined the Sharks.
Nieto, 30, was on his second stint in San Jose, the team that selected him at the 2011 auction. This is the second time the Californian has joined the Avalanche halfway through the campaign. In January 2017, the team claimed his name on waivers.
As a career, the left winger has 190 points in 615 games, including 15 points in 45 games this season.
Merkley and Kaut are slow to hatch, having spent the majority of their first professional campaigns in the American League. The former has not played in the National Hockey League this season, having played 39 games there last year.
Kaut has more experience at this level, having played at least one Bettman Circuit meet each year since 2019-20. The Czech has three points in 27 games this season.
For his part, MacDonald is considered among the best defensemen in the American League. The 29-year-old veteran did not play in the minor ranks in 2022-2023, instead wearing the Avalanche jersey for 33 games.