The Avalanche continued to rebuild their depth on Wednesday, acquiring forward Ross Colton from the Tampa Bay Lightning for a second-round draft pick (No. 37 overall). Colton, 26, is a restricted free agent due a qualifying offer of $1.25 million. He is eligible for unrestricted free-agent status next season.

The draft pick sent to Tampa Bay is one of two picks Colorado obtained from the Montreal Canadiens on Tuesday in exchange for Alex Newhook.

Colton finished the 2022-23 season with 16 goals and 16 assists in 81 games with Tampa Bay. The previous year, he had 22 regular-season goals before the Lightning lost in the Stanley Cup Final to the Avs. Colton also scored the Stanley Cup-winning goal in 2021 in a Game 5 1-0 victory over the Montreal Canadiens to secure a Stanley Cup championship. He has totaled 52 career playoff games in three years, scoring 10 goals and adding nine assists.

“Ross is a hard-working, two-way center with a championship pedigree,” Avs general manager Chris MacFarland said. “He has physicality to his game, is ultra-competitive and his versatility will make him a valuable addition to our lineup in a lot of ways.”

Colton also ranked second on the Lightning in face-off win percentage with a 52.2 percent success rate.

Aarif Deen

Chalk this up as another victory in my books for MacFarland and the rest of the Avs’ front office. Colton provides versatility and can bounce between LW and center. He’ll give you 15-20 goals and can kill penalties. Need someone to play on the second PP unit in a pinch? He’s your guy. All of this is basically what Colorado has had in J.T. Compher over the past several years. Colton is a year younger and will likely cost much less.

What makes the move a savvy addition is the draft pick used to acquire him. Between Tuesday’s Alex Newhook trade and this deal, the Avalanche basically gave up Newhook for Colton, a late first-round pick (No. 31 overall) and a prospect in Gianni Fairbrother. Solid work.

J.J. Jerez

I like this move as a depth addition when you consider the draft pick used wasn’t even in Colorado’s possession 24 hours ago. Seems like MacFarland and Joe Sakic want to rebuild this thing with players that aren’t just going to stick around for a year. I’m curious what he gets on his new deal and I wonder what else is coming for the Avs. Good move, but ready to see what else is coming.

Shawn Drotar

The Avs’ search for a second-line center continues with the 26-year-old Colton, who faced off against Colorado in 2022’s Stanley Cup Final. In his second, full NHL campaign this season, Colton regressed slightly, but finished strong, with a goal and three assists in the Lightning’s six-game series loss to Toronto. A restricted free agent that the Avs will no doubt sign, Colton is set to compete with fellow offseason acquisition Ryan Johansen for the role that J.T. Compher will relinquish as a free agent. The battle between the up-and-comer and the wily veteran for the critical, second-line job may become the story of Colorado’s training camp.