Colorado Avalanche: Evaluation of Mikko Rantanen Signing

SAN JOSE, CA - JANUARY 26: Mikko Rantanen #96 of the Colorado Avalanche takes the ice during player introductions for the 2019 Honda NHL All-Star Game at SAP Center on January 26, 2019 in San Jose, California. (Photo by Brian Babineau/NHLI via Getty Images)
SAN JOSE, CA - JANUARY 26: Mikko Rantanen #96 of the Colorado Avalanche takes the ice during player introductions for the 2019 Honda NHL All-Star Game at SAP Center on January 26, 2019 in San Jose, California. (Photo by Brian Babineau/NHLI via Getty Images) /
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The Colorado Avalanche have locked up one of their most talented players, Mikko Rantanen, to a deal that benefits both sides.

The Colorado Avalanche have signed their wayward winger, Mikko Rantanen, to a contract. He’s officially the highest-paid player on the team by almost $3 million. He’ll be earning $9.25 million annually for the next six years.

Well, that took a minute. It took long enough that I was getting pretty annoyed at both parties, but particularly Rantanen. I get it he has elite skills and should go after as much as he can. However, we all get screwed a little by our employers — why should he be any different?

Ok, well we all know why he should be different. So, let’s look at what Rantanen brings to the table and look at how that contract works.

Magic Mikko Rantanen

Rantanen “should be different” (from getting screwed by employers) because he’s exceptional at what he does. He’s played just three full seasons in the NHL, and he’s amassed 209 points (80 goals, 129 assists).

Each year has been better than the last. He came in his rookie season and scored 20 goals — and that was during the dreaded 48-point season. The next year he cracked the 80-point mark, earning 84 total (29 goals, 55 assists). The next season he cracked the 30-goal mark, earning 31 goals and 56 assists for an 87-point season.

Rantanen is known for being an elite puck-carrier and one of the best passers. He can thread that needle to get the puck to a teammate, and thus set up a scoring chance.

Here’s more on Magic Mikko:

Is Rantanen the New Jagr?. dark. Next

Since we’re here anyway, let’s watch a Mikko Rantanen highlight video:

Yeah, yeah, he’s a beast and deserves a payday. Speaking of, let’s look at the details of that contract.

Money Bags Mikko and his Contract

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The contract is a six-year standard with identical cap hits and annual average values — $9.25 million, for a total value of $55,500,000. It’s front-loaded, so Rantanen will make $12 million the first couple years dropping down to $6 million for a couple years.

I don’t necessarily understand contract law, but I believe that total salary number is important for the last year of the contract. That was the point of contention between Ryan O’Reilly and the Colorado Avalanche a few years ago — his AAV was $6 million, but his total salary was $6.2 million the final year of his contract. The Avs wanted to base their offer off the $6 million, and he wanted it based off the $6.2 million.

For Rantanen, $6 million is the total salary in his final year. But I can’t imagine the Colorado Avalanche are going to try and use that as a base for the next salary, will they?

I guess it does give them some wiggle room. Rantanen will be 28 when this contract expires. That’s prime for a forward, but prime with veteran status looming just over the horizon.

The contract looks good for both sides. Colorado has only just over $6 million in cap space left, but they have all the important players tied up for at least the next two years. Rantanen’s cap hit shouldn’t be onerous by the time Gabriel Landeskog is due (two years).

Rantanen and a Ratty Year

Mikko Rantanen got his payout, so he’ll probably have a ratty year.

That’s pessimistic, I know. However, I’m going to make the bold prediction that the highest-paid player on the team will not be in the… top three of scoring. It’s just Murphy’s Law.

According to the captain, though, he will be paying for some dinners:

Good thing he’s getting $12 million this season.

No telling if Rantanen can be ready for opening night, which is four days away. He has to get his work visa, and it’s a weekend. Money talks, I know, but the government also plays by its own rules. He has to make his way to Colorado and do his fitness testing and physicals. That might be a tall order for opening night.

Watch out, Minnesota, though. There’s a new Mikko (back) in town.

Next. Avs' Successful Fan Fest. dark

Anyway, side note, the Colorado Avalanche lost their final preseason game in the shootout, putting their points on the year at 0 — same as the winners. 😎However, newbies Nazem Kadri, Joonas Donskoi, and Andre Burakovsky all scored goals in the game.