Colorado Avalanche winger Mikko Rantanen in locked up with the team for six more years. He’ll play on opening night. But will it be in his old position?
The Colorado Avalanche re-signed key forward Mikko Rantanen to a six-year contract on September 28th, just five days before opening night for the 2019-20 season.
It’s evident from the contract, that Mikko wanted to stay with the Avalanche. And, as the top line of him, MacKinnon and Landeskog performed so well last year you would imagine that Coach Bednar would keep that line together for this coming season.
But will he?
More from Mile High Sticking
- Could Colorado Avalanche move on from Pavel Francouz next offseason?
- 4 goalies to replace Pavel Francouz if he has to miss time
- Colorado Avalanche make sneaky signing with Tatar
- Colorado Avalanche captain Gabriel Landeskog could return in 2023-24 playoffs
- Colorado Avalanche rookie face-off tournament roster
It’s been interesting watching what the Coach has done during training camp and the exhibition games in ‘filling’ the spot usually taken by Rantanen, on that top line.
Colorado Avalanche Coach, Jared Bednar has consistently had Joonas Donskoi filling the role on that top line. And he appears to have easily slotted into the play with MacKinnon and Landeskog.
So, will Mikko easily have his spot back? On the surface of things, yes.
However, Rantanen hasn’t trained much with the team yet this preseason. He’s been back in his native country for a big part of this off-season until the issue with his contract has been settled.
Sure he’s been training in Finland, Switzerland and Norway according to the Denver Post. But that hasn’t seen him train the drills that we fans saw just last week at Fan Fest.
Nor has it had him slotting into different roles on the second line, as Coach Bednar did last season when the top line struggled against the teams who seemed to have their measure.
According to Mike Liut, Rantanen’s agent, Mikko will play on Thursday night for the season opener since he’s already cleared immigration. Bednar has stated the same
I’m not so sure that’s such a great move. I’d be more inclined to consider giving him time to reacclimatize to the Colorado altitude and train with the new squad.
I’d love to see the team play without Mikko for that first game, just to see what the rest of the players in the squad can do, now that they’ve had a month and a half together.
It might be a great time to test out the strength of the other new players slotted into the squad, to further the chemistry of the whole team.
Don’t get me wrong, I love Mikko Rantanen and what he can do on the ice rink. But the team is not just one player.
Yes, we may have had the best top line in the NHL this past season, that doesn’t mean that it can’t be strengthened and adjusted even more.
I don’t know about you, Colorado Avalanche fans, but I can’t wait!