The Colorado Avalanche and Minnesota Wild swapped veteran defensemen on Tuesday afternoon in a trade that will have Ian Cole and Greg Pateryn change teams.
Cole goes from Colorado to Minnesota, while Pateryn heads to the Avalanche.
Both players are pending unrestricted free agents after this season. Cole’s contract carries a salary cap hit of $4.25 million, while Pateryn has $2.25 million remaining on his contract. Colorado is retaining $800,000 of Coles cap number as part of the trade.
From the Minnesota side, Cole figures to be an upgrade over Pateryn at the bottom of their defense and also has a connection to current general manager Bill Guerin from their days together in Pittsburgh. Cole was a key part of the Penguins’ 2016 and 2017 Stanley Cup winning teams where Guerin was an assistant general manager. In his brief time as Wild general manager Guerin has collected several former Penguins on his roster, including Nick Bonino, Nick Bjugstad, Alex Galchenyuk (left in free agency this offseason) and now Cole.
As for the Avalanche, general manager Joe Sakic talked about Pateryn playing a “heavy” game and bringing grit to the lineup.
“Greg is a strong, veteran defenseman who plays a heavy game,” said Sakic in a statement released by the team. “He’s a hard-nosed, competitive player who can kill penalties, block shots and brings some additional grit to our back line. We thank Ian for his two years with the Avalanche, for his efforts both on the ice as well as in the community. We wish him the best of luck moving forward.”
The real intrigue though is whether or not the trade opens a roster spot for prized prospect Bowen Byram.
The Avalanche already has one of the best young defense corps in the league with Cale Makar, Sam Girard, Devon Toews, and Ryan Graves. Byram, the No. 4 overall pick in the 2019 draft, will only add to that when he arrives.
Adam Gretz is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter @AGretz.