Sharks trade forward Matt Nieto back to Avalanche

SAN JOSE, Calif. (AP) — The San Jose Sharks sent forward Matt Nieto to Colorado for a second stint with the Avalanche in a four-player trade.

Nieto and former first-round defenseman Ryan Merkley are headed to Colorado in the deal completed Wednesday for defenseman Jacob MacDonald and forward Martin Kaut.

Nieto had eight goals and seven assists in 45 games for San Jose this season and is also a strong penalty killer. After beginning his career with the Sharks in the 2013-14 season, Nieto was claimed off waivers by Colorado in 2017.

He had 34 goals and 47 assists in 251 games over three-plus seasons with the Avalanche.

Merkley was a first-round pick by San Jose in 2018 but never found a role in the NHL. He had one goal and five assists in 39 games last season but has been in the AHL this season where he had 14 assists in 30 games.

The 29-year-old MacDonald has appeared in 76 games with Florida and Colorado, posting two goals and 10 assists. Sharks general manager Mike Grier said McDonald will add depth for the Sharks.

The 23-year-old Kaut has split time with the Avalanche and their AHL affiliate this season. The 2018 first-round pick has one goal and two assists in 27 games in the NHL, to go along with five goals and three assists in 10 games for the Colorado Eagles.

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