The Colorado Avalanche Hockey Club announced today that the team has signed forward Matt Nieto to a two-year contract through the 2019-20 season.
Nieto, 25, set a career high with 15 goals in 2017-18, topping his previous best of 10 tallies in both 2013-14 and 2014-15 with the San Jose Sharks. The Long Beach, Calif., native finished the season with 26 points (15g, 11a) and contributed three points (0g, 3a) in six postseason contests. He notched his first career NHL hat trick on Oct. 24 versus Dallas, also finishing a career-high plus-4.
"Matt brings speed and offensive depth to our lineup," said Avalanche Executive Vice President/General Manager Joe Sakic. "He adds a lot of energy to our team and was a big part of our penalty kill this past season. We're excited to have him back for the next two years."
Nieto has collected 107 points (50g, 57a) in 338 career NHL games with the Sharks and the Avalanche. The 5-foot-11, 190-pound left wing was claimed off waivers by Colorado on Jan. 5, 2017 and tallied 11 points (7g, 4a) in 43 outings the Avalanche to finish out the 2016-17 campaign.
A second-round pick (47th overall) of the Sharks in the 2011 NHL Draft, Nieto played collegiate hockey at Boston University, where he totaled 102 points (44g/58a) in 115 career games.
Nieto also played for the U.S. National Team Development Program from 2008-10, winning back-to-back gold medals with Team USA at the 2009 and 2010 IIHF Under-18 World Championship. He is the fourth California-born player to dress in a game for the Avalanche, joining Scott Parker, Ray Macias and Rocco Grimaldi.