After Will Butcher officially walked away, the Avalanche have signed a college free agent themselves. Welcome forward Dominic Toninato to the Colorado Avalanche organization.
Toninato, 23, was originally drafted by the Toronto Maple Leafs in the 5th round of the 2012 NHL Draft (126th overall) — but he was left unsigned by the Leafs. Colorado has signed him to a two-year contract on Wednesday afternoon. This move instantly adds some talent and leadership to the Avs forward group.
He was named captain of the Minnesota Duluth Bulldogs this past 2016-17 season and led them all the way to the NCAA National Championship Game — where they eventually lost to Denver. In his senior year, he scored 16 goals and added 13 assists for 29 points in 42 games played.
After the season, Toninato was named the top defensive forward in the National Collegiate Hockey Conference (NCHC).
He projects to be a solid two-way player in the NHL. Once he develops toward a permanent spot in the league, Dominic will probably end up fitting perfectly on a third line for most of his career.