Right wing Mikko Rantanen obviously doesn’t have to prove he deserves a spot on the team. Rather, he has to prove he deserves his fat paycheck. The winger is the highest paid player on the team thanks to his contract negotiations last offseason.
It would be unfair to say he hasn’t lived up to expectations this season because he missed 28 games with injuries. In fact, he was on injured reserve when the season went on pause. His 41 points (19 goals, 22 assists) in 42 games weren’t exactly shabby.
However, the Avalanche are going to need him to show his mettle in the playoffs. He’s second only to Nathan MacKinnon as team’s best player — and that’s what the Avs need if they’re going to make a deep playoff run.