It’s no secret that the Colorado Avalanche and Mikko Rantanen are not close to a new contract. Heck, Rantanen’s own agent said as much the other day.
The Rantanen camp wants Mitch Marner-comparable money. Marner signed a six-year contract at an average annual value of $10.9 million last week with Toronto. The Avs want to pay more in the range of Leon Draisaitl or Sebastian Aho kind of money – with AAVs of about $8.5 million. (By the way, I’m told by two sources close to the situation that a report saying the Avs’ best offer on a LONG-TERM deal tops out at $8.7 million per is “inaccurate.”).
Can they meet in the middle? If they can, they would have a deal. But here’s the rub: it might have to be a shorter-term deal.
Colorado Hockey Now has learned that anything at or close to a $9.5 million AAV would get a deal done with Rantanen. Consider $9.5 million something of a magic number in this thing, for the Rantanen camp anyway.
As I understand it, based on talks with sources, the thinking goes something like this: “We may not realistically expect to get true Marner money, but something closer to $9.5 is something that is more fair – for both sides. That would put us on par with a guy like Nikita Kucherov, who is making $9.5 million long-term and is the current Hart Trophy winner and Art Ross Trophy winner. But the market DID go up with the Marner signing, whether the Avs want to admit it or not.”
I think something like a five-year, $47.5 million offer would close a deal right now. Or, a two-year, $19 million offer would close a deal right now. Or a three-year, $28.5 million offer would close a deal right now. Anything beyond five years, though? That might be a harder number to pull off, at 9.5.
Why? Because anything beyond a four-year deal goes into when Rantanen can become an unrestricted free agent. After the next four seasons, Rantanen become unrestricted. So, of course the Avs want to lock him up long-term at a number more like an $8.5 – they’ve been open about this. But there is little to NO CHANCE that the Rantanen camp will sign a long-term deal – and I’m talking beyond five years here when I say long-term – at a number like that.
In four years, the market for guys like Rantanen – based on current production levels – would be $12 million or more. That’s a fact.
But the Rantanen camp might compromise on, say, that first year of UFA “premium” years, on a five-year deal and take what they still would consider “short money” on that fifth year at $9.5. It would be more of a slam dunk on a shorter-term deal at that number, however.
At $9.5 million, Rantanen could say he is paid as much as the league’s MVP, while the Avs could also say “We didn’t pay Marner money!”
Can the sides meet in the middle and get this thing done?
That question remains unanswered.