Colorado Avalanche: Preseason Homework for Mikko Rantanen


Week number two of the dog-days of August is about to begin, and thus the Colorado Avalanche preseason and training camp approach nearer and nearer. Still, there is plenty of time to continue speculating about the roster and who might make it. There are a lot of questions with this year’s roster, especially with the seeming depth.

However, the majority of this depth is unproven so it is difficult to predict who will make the roster this year, particularly in the bottom six. One player who has a very good chance of making the roster is Mikko Rantanen. So, the topic of discussion for the day concerns the necessary steps Rantanen will have to take in order to get a roster spot this year, and what his goals should be concerning the particulars of this spot.

Roster Spot or No Roster Spot?

Mikko Rantanen is certainly capable of shouldering a third-line role, and that may end up being what he earns, but he should be seeking a second-line role from the get-go. Thus, he will probably spend most of next year in San Antonio or Finland honing his skills for a big impact next year. Nonetheless, he may surprise and really compete for a role in some significance on the team.

If Mikko Rantanen does make the team, he will probably start on the third-line for some sheltered minutes but then may have the opportunity to move up the lineup if he proves willing to the task. If he does earn a roster spot it will be because he is ready for life at the NHL level, which means that he is ready to make an immediate impact.

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Patrick Roy and Joe Sakic have certainly shown no immediacy in rushing players to the NHL, and even though Mikko Rantanen is a top-ten pick, they will probably continue in this fashion. Regardless Rantanen shows the desire and commitment to make it the NHL and so nothing is out of the realm of possibility.

However, Roy shows signs of wanting Rantanen to receive more development, although that does not leave out the possibility of a good showing in training camp. Anyway, Mikko Rantanen’s goal must be making the Avalanche roster, and there are certainly some things he could improve upon if he means to do so.

What can Mikko Rantanen Improve?

The Colorado Avalanche management were surprised when they saw Rantanen fall to the number ten pick, and — in such a way — were eager to get up to the podium and call his name. Even more importantly, the Colorado Avalanche were able to draft a right wing who is fully capable of assuming top-line minutes sooner rather than later. Hopefully this pickup should help ease the lack of depth at the position.

Nonetheless, Rantanen certainly has things to work on, and one thing he expressed he feels needs improvement is his first step of acceleration. He’s a bigger kid so this is certainly understandable as he doesn’t sport as much agility as someone like Matt Duchene or Nathan MacKinnon.

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However, his most needed spot of improvement rests in his body control, particularly since he should be using his size to his advantage with much more consistency. According to, as one can easily see he sports a finesse game like many European players. This is important for his overall development as it certainly points to a player capable of harnessing both physicality and skill.

Unfortunately though, Rantanen could use his size to his advantage much more frequently. He oftentimes seems small and insignificant in the offensive zone, needing much more power in the corners especially.

Furthermore, as this article states Rantanen doesn’t sport high-skill in any particular area, instead showing raw talent in a capable all-around game. Obviously, the Avalanche are hoping that he pans out to be an elite talent, eventually taking the spot of Jarome Iginla in the depth chart.

Jarome Iginla has 2 years left on his contract and will probably retire after it expires. So, Rantanen’s time is in the near future, it just may not come this year. In spite of this, Rantanen has an elite talent level and will hopefully realize this in the coming future as his spot on the roster will be needed as soon as next year.

Nathan MacKinnon should start to battle for the second-line center role, and it is very possible that either Mikhail Grigorenko or Mikko Rantanen will be found on either one of his wings. As previously stated, the Avalanche roster has a plethora of options for next season — as well as the coming seasons — and so it will be interesting to watch Rantanen’s development.

Most Likely Scenario

Ultimately, it is likely that Mikko Rantanen does not make the NHL this year and is instead given time at the AHL level, or more time in the Finnish pro-league. This has to be the preferred option barring a sensational showing in training camp. The Colorado Avalanche have enough depth on their current roster to afford Mikko Rantanen another year of development.

Mikko Rantanen could, however, show that he is ready for a role on the final roster. If he does prove that he is ready to contribute, then he will definitely make a run at the top-six during the season at some point. Patrick Roy has shown unwilling to rush any prospect into a role that they are incapable of filling; thus, if he does make the roster it is solely because Roy feels that he is more than capable of making an immediate impact.

Rantanen’s ultimate goal has to be a full-time existence in the top-six of the Colorado Avalanche, especially with the inevitable progress of time, which is playing it’s tick and tock on Jarome Iginla’s and Alex Tanguay’s careers. That year most likely won’t be this year, but I ultimately view him playing on Nathan MacKinnon’s right wing, Gabe Landeskog on his left.

However, if this is to proceed in the glorious fashion in which it would, then MacKinnon also needs to realize a bit of missing potential and seize his rightful place as a top-six center. So, next week Nathan MacKinnon is on the docket for preseason homework.

Do you think Mikko Rantanen will make the lineup this year? In what fashion will he sport his duties if he is to make the lineup? What do you think is his ultimate realization of potential? Will he make the top-six? Or will he be forever relegated to a bottom-six role? Let us know what you think in the comments!

Next: Preseason Homework for Mikhail Grigorenko

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