Maple Leafs Linked to Trading for Stanley Cup Champion Forward

The Toronto Maple Leafs have been linked as a possible trade fit for Colorado Avalanche forward Ross Colton.

Colton was traded from the Tampa Bay Lightning to the Avalanche on June 28, 2023, in a salary cap move. Now, a year later, Colton is back in trade rumors due to the Avalanche needing to move cap space, and The Athletic’s Kevin Papetti believes the Maple Leafs will show interest in him.

If Ross Colton gets traded, I could see the Leafs being interested

— Kevin Papetti (@KPapetti) June 21, 2024

Papetti’s report comes after put Colton on their trade target board, and had him No. 8.

“It was less than one calendar year ago, June 28, that the Avs acquired Colton as a cap casualty from the Tampa Bay Lightning. Now, one year later, Colton could be the same for the Avalanche. Colton is coming off a career-best 40-point season, too. It’s just that Colorado has so many hurdles to clear on the cap this summer that Colton may be the odd man out. They have to clear space for Gabriel Landeskog to be activated at some point next season,” the article on said.

“They aren’t sure about the status of Valeri Nichushkin, who is in Stage 3 of the Player Assistance program after a drug-related issue during the playoffs for the second year in a row. And they’ve also prioritized the re-signing of Jonathan Drouin. The arrival of Casey Mittelstadt at center, who also needs a new deal, makes it easier to move Colton, who should have plenty of trade equity – but the Avs will have to act fast because Colton’s full ‘no-trade’ clause kicks in on July 1. He has no trade protection until then,” the article added.

Colton just finished the first year of the four-year $16 million deal he signed with the Avalanche on July 17, 2023, after being traded by the Lightning. In his first year with the Avalanche, Colton recorded

Colton Has Won a Stanley Cup

If the Maple Leafs do try and trade for Colton, he would bring experience to the lineup as he won a Stanley Cup in 2021 while he was with the Lightning.

Colton scored the lone goal in Game 5 which was the game-winner to help Tampa Bay win their second-straight championship. However, the forward was not a member of the 2020 winning team.

Colton signed with Tampa Bay as an undrafted free agent in 2018 and began his career in the AHL. The forward made his NHL debut during the 2020-21 season and played in all 23 playoff games that year the team won the Cup.

In his playoff career in the NHL, Colton has skated in 63 games recording 11 goals and 12 assists for 23 points.

Maple Leafs Have Over $18 Million in Cap Space

Entering the offseason, Toronto has $18.8 million in cap space, according to CapFriendly.

However, the Maple Leafs only have 10 forwards, five defensemen, and one goalie under contract. Meaning, Toronto will need to sign at least two forwards, one defenseman, and one goalie, but will likely add three or four forwards and two or three defensemen.

But, the Maple Leafs do have the cap room to acquire Colton in a trade from the Avalanche.

Toronto does have some key free agents like Tyler Bertuzzi, Max Domi, and Joel Edmundson.

Free agency is set to open up on July 1.

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