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Wild acquires Ian Cole from Avalanche in swap of veteran defensemen

In exchange for the Stanley Cup winner, Minnesota sends defenseman Greg Pateryn to Colorado.
Credit: AP
Colorado Avalanche defenseman Ian Cole (28) congratulates Colorado Avalanche goaltender Philipp Grubauer (31) after the third period of an NHL hockey game Friday, Jan. 15, 2021, in Denver. Colorado won 8-0. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)

MINNEAPOLIS — Colorado and Minnesota have swapped veteran defensemen, as both teams attempt to shore up for a playoff run in a shortened NHL season. 

The Avalanche are getting Greg Pateryn from the Wild in exchange for Ian Cole. Both players are unrestricted free agents after the 2021 season. 

The 30-year Pateryn has two assists in three games this season for the Wild while Cole, who turns 32 in February, hasn’t registered a point this season. 

Wild GM Bill Guerin, who knows Cole from their days in Pittsburgh, says the veteran blueliner brings the knowledge of what it takes to win a Stanley Cup (2 of them, actually), and a bit of "swagger" to the Minnesota locker room. 

The deal represents a significant salary-cap savings for Colorado. Cole was a $4.25 million hit compared with $2.25 million for Pateryn. It gives the Avalanche more room to work with for later deals, and frees up a roster spot for prospect Bowen Byram. 

NBC's Pro Hockey Talk notes that 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 skilled Avs 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.”