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Avalanche-Mikko Rantanen situation appears to have worsened. But things can also change quickly



Mikko Rantanen Avalanche center

Just four days ago, I had thought things were getting more optimistic in the standoff between the Colorado Avalanche and Mikko Rantanen. I was hearing more about both sides being more open to different contract “structures” for the talented Finn right winger, who has posted seasons of 87 and 84 points, respectively, for teams that made the playoffs in both the last two years.

And then, a day later, came the Mitch Marner six-year contract with the Toronto Maple Leafs with a cap hit of $10.9 million per.

I initially thought the Marner contract meant an instant raise for Mikko in the negotiations. The Avalanche pushed back hard against that notion, telling me that, even though every NHL team has the same salary cap limitations, that the way the Maple Leafs do business isn’t how the Colorado Avalanche does business. The Maple Leafs make a massive profit. The Avalanche is usually lucky to break even. Yeah, the Avs are owned by the fantastically rich Kroenke family, but if the Avs and Maple Leafs were compared side-by-side in terms of how much money each team brings in from attendance/sponsorships/everything, the Maple Leafs are by far the bigger enterprise.

You know what the Rantanen camp’s feelings were on the Marner-contract-comparable-to-Mikko issue?

Nobody will go on the record, but I can tell you this with 100 percent certainty: They feel like the Marner contract ABSOLUTELY IS on the table now, as far as comparables go.

And so here we are, on September 16, with Avalanche training camp over, and no agreement between Rantanen and the Avs.

Again, nobody on the record on this. But let’s just cut to the chase on each side’s position on this thing:

AVS: “What Marner got in Toronto doesn’t apply to us in Denver. Toronto can afford to overpay for players – and WOW, did they ever overpay for Marner! The guy has one 90-point-plus year in Toronto, one year after putting up 69 points – AND OH BY THE WAY, THAT WAS THE FIRST YEAR IN WHICH JOHN TAVARES BECAME A  LINEMATE/TEAMMATE OF HIS – and Toronto caves in.”

Superstreak Bonus!

RANTANEN CAMP: “Of all the restricted free agent forwards still unsigned, our guy is the single best comparable to Marner. He actually has had more points in the last two years than Marner! Marner’s contract ABSOLUTELY IS part of the new landscape. They are the two most comparable players, of all the ones still unsigned, in terms of talent, points, PPG, ability to drive the play of others.”

This is absolutely at the crux of the current impasse. This is the difference in the sides’ positions. Nobody expected the Leafs to give $10.9 million per to Marner. Toronto GM Kyle Dubas now has the league-wide reputation, among other GMs, that he will cave in the end.

I know, I know: the Avs have the money under the cap. Just give what Mikko wants, and move on.

Nope. Avs have never really done business like that. The Avs love Mikko, and really want him. But they will NOT have the Toronto Maple Leafs dictate the terms on this thing.

I make no predictions when this thing ends now. I still think it’ll be done before the start of the season. Why do I think that? Because both sides will be losers if it drags beyond Oct. 3, the season-opener.

But business is business. Ultimately in pro sports, there are no feelings.

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Adrian Dater - Kiss and Larry Bird fan. Writer with @Gambling and @Bookies, Avs Insider with 104.3 The Fan. Denver Post, SI, Bleacher Report alum, author of seven books.

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Benjamin Lait



Sounds eerily similar to what the AVS did with the most recent Conn Smythe winner…. Let’s hope for a better out come this time around.


Avs botched that one tremendously…… I hope not…..
Do we know if rantanen is a bus driver or merely a fantastic passenger? RoR proved himself over Duchene back then it’ll be interesting to see how this pans out…..
That is also a big reason Greg Sherman is an agent right now and not a GM


The relationship with O’Reilly was damaged prior to Sakic taking the reign. Sakic and Roy ultimately avoided going arbitration by settling on a contract in the arbitrators waiting room. But by that time the damage had been done because of the hold out/offer sheet and there wasn’t enough trust left between the team and O’Reilly. They also saw O’Reilly as a bargaining chip in solidifying a then nightmarish defense. With Zadorov and Compher developing into important pieces of this team, I think Sakic really made the best out of it. It’s also worth keeping in mind that Sakic was famously… Read more »

Dwayne Hall

Just in case people are wondering because I’m seeing social media comments that reflect this, If a team signs Rantanen to an offer sheet and the Avalanche do not match, it does not mean the Avalanche lose him for nothing. He’s an RFA not a UFA so there’s compensation if the Avalanche were to not match. More than likely if a team signs him to an offer sheet it’s going to fall under one of two AAV levels; – $8,454,872-$10,568,589: Compensation would be (2) 1sts, a 2nd and a 3rd from the signing team. – Over $10,568,590: Compensation would be… Read more »

Adrian Dater

You’re correct


The Avs match it for sure if it is under 10,6 Million

Nicholas Truini

I think that’s right, under 10.6 they match anyway. If it’s over, they don’t, but now we are also talking about very low likelihood, I love Rants but nobody is giving up 4 1sts for him. If they were to, I almost couldn’t complain as an Avs fan anyhow.


Man is it helpful to have some insider perspective on this thing as the start of the season looms. Thanks for keeping us all informed Dater.


Mikko failed away from Mack.. He put up like 1 point. When Mikko missed time at the end of the year Mack still produced with the likes of 3rd stringers filling in on the top line.

Mikko is not worth what Kucherov got a year ago at 9.5 million on an 8 year deal.


It’s idiotic to follow the immaturity of the leadership in Toronto and be sucker to the agents. Avs need to pay a fair salary, but consistent with what is best for the team. Folks who say sign him to what ever have no clue. Let him sit out entire season. Seeing Donsoi….they will be just fine. Team first. Thanks for an objective POV, Big Red. Joe from NJ.

Adrian, was nice to meet you in person. Will be following you avidly through the season. Was nice to visit!

Richard Trujillo

Sad to see that the Avalanche are going down the exact same path that they did with the O’Reilly, Duchene, and Stastny core. It is a shame to know that under the current ownership that the best we can do is to build a team right to the doorstep of being a contender and then destroy our team by not signing our own free agents or going out and being a major player in free agency.

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