A couple days ago, I laid out the scenario of how I think the situation between Mikko Rantanen and the Colorado Avalanche will unfold. So, what I have to say next just follows what’s in that story, but:
Rantanen, sources confirmed to Colorado Hockey Now, will not be present tomorrow morning, when Avalanche players report for physicals and meet the media. At that point, this officially becomes something of a “holdout” situation, even though “holdout” is an incorrect term, because Rantanen does not have a contract for the coming season.
But you know what I mean.
Some pundits thought the start of training camp would be the real deadline under which a contract had to be done, but that was wrong. The real “pressure point” deadline, as I’ve had it described to me, is the season opener, Oct. 3, against Calgary.
Would it be optimal if Rantanen were present tomorrow, for physicals and other testing? Would it be optimal if Mikko had a real training camp, to better get in condition and commune with teammates and hear instructions from coaches?
Yes, to both.
But as detailed in the above article, this is kind of a unique situation regarding the NHL’s top restricted free agents this year. It’s not just Rantanen who’s still unsigned. It’s Mitch Marner and Brayden Point and Matthew Tkachuk and Patrik Laine and Charlie McAvoy and Brock Boeser and a few other guys. There is a new “market floor comparable” waiting to be set among these guys, but nobody seems to want to make the first move.
This year also is a bit unique, too, because of Sunday’s deadline for the NHLPA to decide whether to keep the current CBA for three more years, or opt out after this season. Whichever way they decide could most largely have an impact on the term of these guys’ deals.
You don’t like to see guys miss training camp. Sure, Mikko might be skating with some European club and playing shinny and stuff, but it’s not a great substitute for playing every day against NHL players.
But, this is also a business. So, here we are.