NHL: Avalanche acquire Matt Nieto in 4-player trade with Sharks

The Colorado Avalanche, who are on the rise in the defense of their Stanley Cup title with six consecutive wins, pulled off a four-player trade with the San Jose Sharks on Wednesday.

Forward Matt Nieto and defenseman Ryan Merkley are headed to Colorado, with forward Martin Kaut and defenseman Jacob MacDonald moving to San Jose.

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Nieto has split his NHL career between the Sharks and the Avalanche. The 30-year-old California native played for San Jose from October 2013 until he was claimed off waivers by Colorado in January 2017. He spent 3 1/2 seasons with the Avalanche before returning to the Sharks as a free agent before the 2020-21 season.

This season, Nieto has eight goals and seven assists in 45 games. His best season was 2017-18, when he logged 15 goals and 11 assists in 74 games for the Avalanche. In 615 career games, he has 81 goals and 109 assists.

Merkley, 22, had one goal and five assists in 39 games for the Sharks last year. He has spent this season with the AHL’s San Jose Barracuda, producing no goals and 14 assists in 30 games.

MacDonald, 29, broke into the NHL by playing two games for the Florida Panthers in 2018-19. He has played parts of the past three seasons for Colorado. In 2022-23, he had no goals and two assists in 33 games with the Avalanche. Overall, MacDonald has two goals and 10 assists in 76 NHL games.

“Jacob is a versatile veteran player who has been an All-Star at the American Hockey League level and will add depth to our NHL lineup,” Sharks general manager Mike Grier said in a statement.

Kaut, 23, has split this season between the Avalanche and their AHL affiliate. He had a goal and two assists in 27 games for Colorado this campaign, bringing his NHL totals to three goals and three assists in 47 games. Kaut recorded five goals and three assists in 10 games for the Colorado Eagles this season.

“Martin is a former first-round pick who bolsters our group of young developing forwards at the American Hockey League level,” Grier said in a statement.

–Field Level Media

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