Mikko Rantanen has got to feel a little bit like the Rodney Dangerfield of the NHL.
Cale Makar, not Mikko Rantanen, was selected on Thursday by the NHL to be the Avalanche’s All-Star representative.
Now, let me make one thing very clear: Makar is a superstar. He’s a freak. There is no one else in the NHL like Cale Makar, and he’s having another strong season.
But anyone who has watched the Avalanche this year should be able to agree: Their best player has been Mikko Rantanen.
And he deserved to be their All-Star Selection.
The Avalanche have already managed to dress 25 different forwards this season. Gabriel Landeskog has not suited up for a game. Valeri Nichushkin has missed the majority of the season. Nathan MacKinnon missed most of December.
Without Rantanen, the Avalanche would be in deep, deep trouble.
Let’s dig a little deeper into his numbers compared to some of the other top scorers in the league.
At the moment, no player in the NHL has a higher percentage of their teams goals than Rantanen (24.5%). Connor McDavid? Tage Thompson? Alexander Ovechkin? As great as those players are, they’re getting more help from their teammates in the goal department than Rantanen.
Only Connor McDavid has picked up a point on a greater percentage of his teams goals than Rantanen.
The Avalanche, with all their injuries, have only been able to muster up 55 goals at 5 on 5 this season, second lowest in the league. Rantanen has 21 of them, which happens to lead the league. That’s a little over 38%. That’s an insane number.
Mikko is currently on pace for a career high in goals (57) and points (106). It has been 16 years since the Avalanche had a 100 point scorer, and 20 since they’ve had a 50 goal scorer. There’s no guarantee he hits either, but just goes to show how good his start has been.
When the team needed a center after MacKinnon’s injury, Rantanen moved into the middle and performed admirably. Some nights, he carried them to victory.
Now, I get it. Rantanen still has a pretty good chance to get voted into the All-Star game by the fans. Avalanche fans should (and likely will) find a way to get him to Florida.
It just shouldn’t have to come to that.
The NHL, unfortunately, got this one wrong.