The Colorado Avalanche inked Dominic Toninato this offseason to a two-year, entry-level contract after becoming a free agent August 15.

"We are excited to announce that Dominic has decided to sign with our organization," said Avalanche Executive Vice President/General Manager Joe Sakic. "He is a big, responsible two-way center and represents a solid prospect for the future of our team."

Once a foe to Colorado hockey, the former Minnesota Duluth captain has come to the Mile High City, home of the Denver Pioneers he faced in the NCAA Division I National Championship earlier this year. In an unideal conclusion to his senior season, the Bulldogs fell to the Pioneers 3-2 at the United Center in Chicago, Illinois.

The 23-year-old finished a four-year career with the Bulldogs and opted to take his chances in free agency, rather than sign with the Toronto Maple Leafs--who drafted him in the 5th round (126th overall) in the 2012 NHL Draft, similar to the situation of Hobey Baker Award winner and former Pioneers captain Will Butcher.

Butcher, who was drafted by the Avalanche in the 5th round (123rd overall) -- only three picks before Toninato -- has decided to take his chances in free agency after playing all four years in the NCAA.

Toninato played 151 career games with Minnesota Duluth, accumulating 91 points (54g/37a) and finishing with a +43 plus/minus rating.