Mikko Rantanen: Colorado Avalanche 2015 NHL Draft Profile


Mikko Rantanen: Colorado Avalanche 2015 NHL Draft Profile

The 2014-15 season was unfortunately cut short for the Colorado Avalanche. That means that here at Mile High Sticking, we have a long off-season ahead of us. While the off-season is filled with all different kinds of articles, regarding the playoffs (that we are unfortunately not a part of), Avalanche season reviews, and many other things, it also gives us time to focus on the Colorado Avalanche 2015 NHL Draft.

More from Avalanche News

With the Edmonton Oilers picking first overall once more, the Avalanche keep their tenth overall pick — at least until draft day. Not getting Canadian phenom Connor McDavid or his American equivalent Jack Eichel is sad. However, in a stacked draft like this one, there will be lots of talent still available by the time the Avs are on the clock.

That is why we will present you a series of profiles of players that are eligible for the 2015 NHL Draft. That includes players of every position, from North America as well as Europe. Not only do we focus on options for the tenth overall pick, but also on interesting players for the later rounds. There is no guarantee that these players will have themselves put on an Avalanche jersey on draft day. It is simply who we at Mile High Sticking believe could or should be targeted by the Colorado Avalanche. Enjoy!

View image | gettyimages.com

Name: Mikko Rantanen

Position: Center

Shoots: Left

Height, weight: 6’4”, 209 lbs

Team/League: TPS, SM-Liiga

Stats (from eliteprospects.com): 













Pro comparison: Corey Perry

Risk, Reward: 1/5, 5/5

NHL-potential: Number one center

Draft Range: Top 15


Scouting report

More from Mile High Sticking

Mikko Rantanen is a very intelligent, big forward with exceptional puckhandling and playmaking skills. He has been playing in Finland’s top tier league since the 2012-13 season, when he was just 16 years old. Prior to that, he played for TPS’s U-20 team, rather than his own age-group.

According to Elite Prospects scout Curtis Joe, Mikko Rantanen is “a combination of elite-level hockey sense, silky smooth hands, and nimble skating”. Add to that his large frame, and you have a prototype of an elite NHL center that many coaches are craving for.

Rantanen knows how to use his body to protect the puck, but is not overly physical. He battles hard in the corners, using his size and strength to pin the opponent against the boards. However, he is not known for throwing big hits. Once he has the puck in the offensive zone, Rantanen is extremely calm, using his vision and reach to keep the puck away from his opponents, and find the open teammate. He knows how to create scoring chances through big passes or quick stickhandling moves.

More from Avalanche News

When in front of the net, Rantanen has no issues finding ways to score. He dekes around the goaltender, takes snapshots with a quick release or rips off a slapshot. His shot-accuracy is outstanding.

According to Future Considerations, Mikko Rantanen is “good in his own zone and consistently makes himself available for a breakout pass”. He shows great awareness and is often ahead of the play, giving him an advantage when he takes off for breakouts.

Mikko Rantanen has a few weaknesses as well. However, none of them are impossible to improve on. The Finnish forward has to get more consistent in using his body to his advantage in all situations. Furthermore, he needs to improve on throwing his body at opponents and finishing his checks.

Fit with the Avalanche

Mikko Rantanen would be the perfect player for the Avalanche, especially considering head coach Patrick Roy’s desire to get bigger down the middle. If he is still available at tenth overall, I don’t think Roy and Sakic would think twice to select him. He is projected to go off the board anywhere between 6th and 12th overall.

If Rantanen gets picked by the Avalanche, he will likely come right over to North America. He has almost three seasons of pro experience and is also eligible to play in the AHL. That would obviously increase the logjam of centers on the Avalanche roster. However, with both Nathan MacKinnon and Ryan O’Reilly having experience with playing on the wing, moving two of the centers to one of the wings would strongly improve the wing depth chart.

Next: Draft Profile: Fabio Pfohl