Ben Smith lost to Leafs on waivers, Mitchell and Rantanen nearing return for Avs

Oct 15, 2016; Denver, CO, USA; Colorado Avalanche right wing Ben Smith (20) and Dallas Stars defenseman Patrik Nemeth (15) battle for the puck in the second period at the Pepsi Center. Mandatory Credit: Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports

On an extended in-season break, the Colorado Avalanche have decided to shake up their roster a little.

The Avalanche waived forward Ben Smith, who was claimed by the Toronto Maple Leafs on Monday. As such, he will rejoin the franchise with which he ended last season, leaving the Avs after only four games.

The 28-year-old Smith went pointless in his four games with the Avalanche this season, registering a minus-2 rating. After spending time at center, he was likely deemed expendable now that John Mitchell is recovered from his hip injury. Smith had six points in 16 games for the Leafs last season.

With Smith no longer on the roster, Mikko Rantanen is also free to rejoin the Avalanche prior to Friday’s contest against the Winnipeg Jets, as expected. Recovering from an ankle injury, the 19-year-old prospect spent the past four games on a conditioning stint with the San Antonio Rampage, where he registered two assists.

The time off may also benefit forward Rene Bourque and defenseman Fedor Tyutin, who are both dealing with groin injuries.

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