Avs ink offensive d-man Noreau from Swiss league

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After three years, Maxim Noreau is on his way back to North America.

On Monday, Colorado signed Noreau to a two-year, $1.25 million deal, per the Denver Post. The deal comes after Noreau spent the last three seasons racking up points for HC Ambrì-Piotta of the Swiss National A League, scoring 89 in 124 contests.

Noreau, 27, made his NHL debut with Minnesota in 2009-10, just a few years after signing as an undrafted free agent out of QMJHL Victoriaville. He appeared in six games for the Wild, spending most of his time in AHL Houston and, not surprisingly, racking up points — in 2009-10, he finished tied for 2nd in the league with P.K. Subban for goals by a defenseman (18) and, in his last season with the Aeros, put up 54 points in 76 games.

Noreau has a decent shot of cracking the Avs lineup next year. The team has seven d-men currently on NHL contracts — Erik Johnson, Brad Stuart, Jan Hejda, Ryan Wilson, Nate Guenin, Zach Redmond and Nick Holden — and that’s not exactly the toughest group to break into. That said, Colorado still has to reach new deals with RFA d-men Tyson Barrie and Stefan Elliott, so the mix will get more crowded.