Colorado Avalanche: How Will the Mikko Rantanen Call-up Impact Team?

Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports /

The Colorado Avalanche placed Ben Smith on waivers Sunday so that they could call Mikko Rantanen up on Monday afternoon.

Colorado Avalanche forward Mikko Rantanen has been called up from the Colorado Avalanche, and he is expected to slide right into the top six.

There’s no consensus yet what line he will play on, but his call up will hopefully add some offensive depth to the team.

Unfortunately, the Colorado Avalanche lost forward Ben Smith on waivers due to the Rantanen call up.

The Rampage now not only lose the depth of Rantanen, but they also do not get a forward to replace that loss.

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However, this call-up is good news for the Avalanche because Rantanen is a much need addition in the top six.

His addition should slide some players down the roster, while also adding a lot of speed and young talent up front.

Jarome Iginla is Likely to Get Bumped from the Top Six

As much as I like Iginla on the power play, he just doesn’t belong in the top six anymore. He’s looked slow, out of position and he’s taken needless penalties.

Something has got to give, and Rantanen’s call-up signals a likely demotion for Iginla. Furthermore, I don’t think that Iginla playing on the third line is such a bad idea.

Shane Doan has been doing it for a number of years with the Arizona Coyotes, and Patrick Marleau is starting to slide into that role for the San Jose Sharks.

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Plus, Iginla on a line with Joe Colborne and Blake Comeau sounds very promising. That line combination should also accommodate the style of play that Iginla is capable of right now.

In other word, he’s not capable of wheeling around with speedsters like Gabe Landeskog and Nathan MacKinnon. His role is likely better suited to a grinding style, both of which Comeau and Colborne are capable of playing.

Obviously if Iginla is bumped from the top six, Mikko Rantanen will take his place, but what line will he play on?

Where Will Mikko Rantanen Make the Biggest Impact in the Lineup?

When I originally called for Rantanen’s inclusion on the roster, I wanted Matt Duchene to move back to center.

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But, that was because Matt Duchene had yet to score a point in three games. He’s notched 5 points in the last two games, and I’m no longer worried about his contribution on the wing.

And, I don’t think that Jared Bednar is going to throw Rantanen into the fire and put him at center in the top six.

That progression might eventually happen, but he’s more likely to start on the wing in the top six for the Avs.

So, either Mikhail Grigorenko gets bumped to the top line with Landeskog and MacK. Or, Rantanen takes the vacant spot that Iginla is likely to create on the right wing on that top line.

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I don’t believe that Bednar has any intention of breaking up Grigorenko, Carl Soderberg and Duchene. So, Rantanen is likely to join the Landy and MacK line — that would be my guess at least.

And, that’s not all folks, apparently the Avalanche are likely to see the addition of another player who’s presence will be much appreciated.

John Mitchell is Expected to Play Friday Night Against Winnipeg

Not only will the Avalanche be receiving the added offensive depth of Mikko Rantanen, but they’ll also be getting their versatile fourth line center back.

Both these additions are going to be extremely helpful for the Avalanche, as they add a ton of depth at both the top and bottom of the lineup.

John Mitchell has been a steady player for the Avalanche. And, he’s going to want to push it this year because he’s in the final year of his contract with the Avs.

He’ll bring some consistent depth to the bottom six, and should be a better option than Ben Smith.


Mitchy and Rants should have plenty of time to adjust to the playing style and their likely roles. Both should at least get four practices in with the team — Mitchy will likely get five — before their game on Friday night.

And, it can’t be understated how much these additions will likely help the depth in the forward group.

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Here’s my projected forward lines for Friday night:

Line 1: Landy, MacK, Rants

Line 2: Grigs, Soda, Duchy

Line 3: Comeau, Colborne, Iggy

Line 4: Andreas Martinsen, Mitchy, Gabriel Bourque

Those look pretty shiny if you ask me. It seems like Soda, Grigs and Duchy are starting to develop some chemistry. And, I believe that the addition of Rantanen on the top line will help Landy and MacK develop some more chemistry.

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He’s a great passer, and he can really shoot the puck. He’s also a big body; although. he needs to work on his physicality along the boards a bit. However, he has great power positioning in the offensive zone.

His inclusion on the top line — if that is indeed what happens — will help the Avalanche tremendously. And, it will help alleviate some offensive pressure from Iggy’s shoulders, while also helping him to become a nice third line scoring winger.

The addition of John Mitchell is just the cherry on top.

Cheers to some good news as the Avs approach a tough schedule, starting this weekend.