To dial up my New England accent here: It’s ooooovahhh.
A drama that was starting to take more turns than an episode of “Empire” finally ended Saturday afternoon. Mikko Rantanen is signed, for the next six seasons, at a cap hit of $9.25 million per. Rantanen still has to pass a physical and do other fitness testing that his teammates all did on Sept. 13, not to mention travel all the way here from Finland.
So, it remains unknown if he will be in the opening-night lineup, Thursday against Calgary.
My first thought on the contract: It is a win for both sides.
Just 24 hours before, the Rantanen camp was NOT happy at the state of things. That much I can promise you. A day later, all is sunshine and flowers. My latest and best information, as of Friday morning, was that the Avs’ top offer was $8.9 million AAV on a long-term deal. Rantanen wanted a contract with a cap hit that started at a 9.
As I wrote in a story yesterday:
I do think it’s a good sign that the Avs have come up a little. I think, personally, that $8.9 million a year is a hell of a lot of money. But I’m not an all-star right winger. And, again, a long-term deal has to factor in those UFA years. At current production, Rantanen would easily make more than $10 million per as a UFA. Maybe – maybe – the sides will still “meet in the middle” at something like 9.25. We’ll see. Rantanen really wants to rejoin his team. But I also know this: that he feels upset about this, that there is the chance of some real animosity between him and the team developing. I still think cooler heads will prevail and something will get done.
Well, what do you know: $9.25 million became the magic number! Amazing how that works, isn’t it? (The Avs are saying they didn’t suddenly cave at that compromise number. Whatever, who cares anymore. The deal is done, and both sides did well). Here’s why: