Both veteran rearguards are pending unrestricted free agents. Cole carries a cap hit of $4.25 million, while Pateryn's deal holds an annual value of $2.25 million. Colorado is retaining $800,000 of Cole's cap hit, according to CapFriendly.
Cole, 31, is a veteran of 543 NHL games. He won back-to-back Stanley Cups with the Pittsburgh Penguins and is known for his gritty defensive play. His career high in points is just 26 - which he tied last season - but he's also posted strong underlying numbers, accounting for nine goals above replacement in 2019-20, according to Evolving Hockey.
Pateryn is one year younger than Cole, but also far less experienced with 270 NHL games under his belt - and 41 career points. He was worth 3.9 goals above replacement in his last full NHL season in 2018-19. Injuries limited him to just 20 games last season, though.
It's possible the Avalanche made this move to create room in the lineup for rookie Bowen Byram. Colorado was deep on the left side of the blue line with Devon Toews, Ryan Graves, Sam Girard (who had been playing his off side), and Cole. Byram, the No. 4 pick in 2019, now has an easier path to playing time, and the team saves cap space in the process.
Cole is projected to play on the Wild's third pairing with Carson Soucy. Minnesota already boasted one of the league's best blue lines before adding the experienced depth piece.