Colorado Avalanche: What to Expect When Mikko Rantanen Returns

TAMPA, FL - OCTOBER 19: Mikko Rantanen #96 of the Colorado Avalanche against the Tampa Bay Lightning at Amalie Arena on October 19, 2019 in Tampa, Florida. (Photo by Scott Audette/NHLI via Getty Images)"n
TAMPA, FL - OCTOBER 19: Mikko Rantanen #96 of the Colorado Avalanche against the Tampa Bay Lightning at Amalie Arena on October 19, 2019 in Tampa, Florida. (Photo by Scott Audette/NHLI via Getty Images)"n /

Colorado Avalanche star winger Mikko Rantanen will soon return to play. What can we expect when he’s back in the lineup?

The Colorado Avalanche are finally going to get their star winger back. Mikko Rantanen has been skating with the team in a regular jersey. He’s not going to play against the Edmonton Oilers. However, he might be back as soon as the home-and-home series against the Chicago Blackhawks.

Rantanen was injured when his skate blade seemed to catch on the ice and he twisted his leg. The incident happened against the St. Louis Blues on October 21, five weeks ago. He’s missed 14 games in that time.

Rantanen started skating on his own on November 11. He’s only been taking part in team sessions the last few times. Mikko said of the current situation:

"“[I] feel better every day. Just need a couple more days with the team and practices…You don’t really skate for three weeks, it takes a while to get back in shape.”"

Well, Mikko Rantanen’s imminent return is good news indeed. The Avs have been without about a third of their opening night roster off and on since Rantanen’s injury.

So, what can we expect when Rantanen returns? Are all of the Colorado Avalanche’s woes suddenly going to disappear?

Of course not. However, we do know that we should expect a boost in offense once the big Finn rejoins the team. When he got injured, he was second on the team for scoring with 12 points (5 goals, 7 assists). He’s now fallen to #6 on the team, but that’s still pretty impressive for a player who’s only played nine games.

Today in practice, the lines were this way:





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Naturally, we expect Rantanen to jump to the top line once he actually returns. So, what will that top line look like? I reckoned in yesterday’s post that Joonas Donskoi would be the one to drop down instead of Andre Burakovsky. For one, Burakovsky’s a natural left wing. For another, he’s found chemistry with Nathan MacKinnon.

So, as I also opined in yesterday’s post, I expect Tyson Jost to be the one to drop out of the second line to make room for Joonas Donskoi. And I’m already steeling myself to watch him drop all the way to the fourth line.

Anyway, as far as which forward will be the healthy scratch or sent back to Loveland, I’m anticipating T.J. Tynan. His tenure here was odd to begin with — he’s a career AHLer. And the Eagles need him. Logan O’Connor, on the other hand, is a prospect who has earned his shot.

Anyway, Rantanen should also return to the first power play unit, and, boy, is that going to be a relief. He already has a power play goal on the year. Last year he had 16 — and a total of 33 power play points.

The Colorado Avalanche need that boost. Right now they’re #11 in the NHL for power play conversion with 19.8%, which isn’t overly bad. However, getting some more power play goals will help the team climb back up in the standings.

Because the Avalanche have dropped out of the Central Division race as of right now. They’re currently in the first wild card spot, though with two games in hand. Yes, I know it’s just the quarter-season mark, but, you know, it’s already the quarter-season mark.

dark. Next. Burakovsky at Home in Colorado

Anyway, Mikko Rantanen is taking these extra couple practices to ensure he’s game ready. I think the Colorado Avalanche and all of us in Avs Nation are hoping he hits the ground running — or the ice skating, in this case.