Welcome to a brand new off-season series where we’ll take a look at a Colorado Avalanche player, a statistic, and try to gauge where they’ll land next year. Will they go over the set number? Or will they fall short?
Now, I’m not much of a gambling man myself. I try to steer clear of that stuff as much as I can, but the over/under bets have always caught my eye, so I thought this would be a fun topic to dig into while we wait for any news to drop.
Not all of these will be gambling lines, as I’ll come up with a few on my own for different Avalanche players. However, this one happens to have been set by DraftKings, and it’s a good one.
Let’s dig into it…
Mikko Rantanen Goals For 2023-24 Season: 44.5
This is a very interesting line, but that’s what these sites do. They set the line right at a point where you really have to think about it.
While Rantanen scored 55 goals last year, it was the first time he had ever crossed the 40 goal threshold in his career. He had 30 goals in 52 games (47 goal pace) during the weird COVID season of 2020-21, but a lot of statistics from that year need to be taken with a grain of salt. The schedule and divisions of that year set up for some abnormal years.
Still, that makes it two of the last three years he’s scored at a rate that would allow him to hit the over. That makes this line seem a little more reasonable.
When you look at Rantanen’s big goal scoring year during the 2022-23 campaign, you can see it wasn’t really fueled by some crazy shooting percentage. That’s usually the case when a player goes off on a career year. Not for Rantanen.
Rantanen shot 17.97% last season, but he enters this year with a career shooting percentage of 16.2%. Even if he shot at his career average, he would have scored 49 goals and hit the over, so it wasn’t a year fueled by some crazy shooting percentage bender. He’s just a guy with an elite shot that allows him to finish more than the average NHL player. Just one season prior, he had the worst shooting season of his career, and that was still 14.2%. That’s just how talented he is.
One thing that you have to keep in mind was how much he played last year. Injuries and lack of depth forced the Avalanche to rely heavily on their big guns, and Rantanen averaged 22:13 of ice-time a game. Compared to the year before, he played 1:14 more a game. Not a huge difference, but over the course of an 82 game season, it adds up. His goals-per-60 was 1.41, so I’m not sure it’s enough to close the gap, but it’s something to keep in mind.
With the acquisitions of Miles Wood and Ross Colton, I’d like to think he and MacKinnon won’t be relied on so heavily during the regular season, but you never know. Quite frankly, it’s astonishing he produced the way he did, simply because he was one of the few guys who actually played the full season after a short summer. You’d think he would have hit a wall at some point.
While injuries forced him to play a lot of minutes, it also meant that he played with a lot of different linemates. Will the Avalanche be able to give him better linemates next year? If the team is healthy, I’d say yes (with some hesitation), but after last season, can you even bank on this team staying healthy? That’s something to consider. He also did a lot of work without MacKinnon last year, showing he can carry his own line, if need be.
So, where do we stand? Rantanen is an elite shooter in his prime who played a ton of minutes last year. I’d expect those minutes to drop a bit next season, but I’m not sure it’s enough for an 11 goal drop off.
What do I think?
Evan’s Prediction: TAKE THE OVER
I’m not going into the season expecting another 55 goal year out of Rantanen, but I think he’s got enough talent to hit 45. While I think his ice-time will drop a little bit, he’ll still be relied on heavily by the coaching staff. I could see this one going either way, but I saw a very mature Rantanen last year, both on and off the ice. Sure, he had a few temper tantrums with the refs, but he seemed like he really grew into his role as a leader on the Avalanche. Win or lose, he was one of the players who would always be willing to stand in front of a microphone after a game.
He’s ready to show he belongs near the top when people talk about the best players in the NHL.
Where does everyone stand? Would you take the over? Or would you take the under?