Avalanche claim Nieto, who’s ‘definitely an NHL player’

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The worst team in the NHL has a new player. The Colorado Avalanche have claimed forward Matt Nieto off waivers from the San Jose Sharks.

Nieto, 24, has no goals and two assists in 16 games this season. He’s a pending restricted free agent with a cap hit of $735,000.

It’s a risk-free addition for the Avs, who will likely be sellers leading up to the trade deadline.

As for the Sharks, they just didn’t have a spot for Nieto anymore, thanks to the emergence of Timo Meier and Kevin Labanc.

“I think he’s definitely an NHL player, he’s a great kid,” Sharks coach Pete DeBoer said of Nieto, per the Mercury News. “He was real serviceable for us here. That’s what the waiver process is for. Guys in that situation, where he’s on a deep team behind some people. This gives him a chance to go somewhere and prove himself.”

Nieto has 28 goals and 42 assists in in 221 career NHL games. He can kill penalties, too.