With the season for the Colorado Avalanche complete, it’s time to take a look back at the individual players and how they performed.
Next up is Mikko Rantanen.
Let’s take a look at his numbers from this season.
Goals: 55 (career high)
Points: 105 (career high)
TOI: 22:13 per game (second among forwards in NHL)
Way back on Oct. 12, Rantanen got his season started on the right foot, dropping four assists against the Chicago Blackhawks. That was a sign of things to come.
It was a season to remember for the Finnish star, as he broke Joe Sakic’s 22 year old Avalanche record for goals in a season, depositing 55 into the back of the net. 42 of those goals came at even strength, which was good for second best in the league. That also is an Avalanche record, as Sakic and Milan Hejduk had previously held the record at 32.
The trip to Finland back in November was a memorable one for Rantanen. Not only did he get to play in his home country, but in the first of two games, he scored a hat trick. That wouldn’t be the only hat trick he scored this year, as the goals came in bunches.
In a season full of incredible stretches, perhaps his best run was in December. With Nathan MacKinnon out, Rantanen kind of put the team on his back, as it appeared he was the only person who could actually score goals. In the 11 games MacKinnon missed, Rantanen scored nine goals, and had two games where he registered 10+ shots. A hat trick against the St. Louis Blues, where he scored all three of Colorado’s goals, including the overtime winner, was one of the highlights on the year.
His dynamite season earned him another All-Star appearance, and he dunked Sidney Crosby in the skills competition.
Perhaps most impressive was that a lot of his damage this year was done playing on a different line than MacKinnon. Rantanen was often paired with J.T. Compher, and it’s no surprise that Compher had (by far) the best season of his career. He was a menace coming down the right wing all year long, and it really didn’t matter who he was with.
It isn’t like that goal scoring stopped in the regular season, either. In the playoffs, he was just as deadly, scoring seven goals in seven games, and leading the team with 10 points. Hard to fault him for what happened against the Kraken.
Season Grade: A
Not only did he have a great regular season, but he backed it up with a productive postseason as well. There are some nights where Rantanen will look off. Often times, those are the same nights where you look at the scoresheet and he’s racked up three points. He has the skill to take over a game, and even when he’s not as his best, he just needs one opening to bury the puck, or find a teammate. If there’s one thing he really needs to focus on, it’s controlling his temper, as it got the best of him too many times in 2022-23. Beyond that, he was arguably the teams MVP from start to finish.